Showing posts with label Health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Health. Show all posts

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Prescription Drugs and Pharmacists in Your Plot Line: Info for Writers with David Perry

Fiona - 
David Perry
Today, our guest is David Perry. David would you introduce yourself?

I'm David Perry. I have been a pharmacist for thirty years and an author for about eight years. I spent the first eleven years working in the hospital setting as a clinical pharmacist working with doctors and other clinicians on drug therapies and better medication usage. The last years, I've been a community pharmacist here in Newport News. My first novel was published in 2012, and my plot lines deal with pharmacy and my protagonists are pharmacists.

Fiona - 
I can't remember ever reading a book with a pharmacist or pharmacy in the plot line, but it seems like so much fodder for things to go very badly.

David - 

Amazon Link
Yes, absolutely. In the reading I've done over the years, I have seen very little published that deals specifically with our profession, especially with a pharmacist as the hero. 

My heroes to date--and in the future--will be pharmacists. I would like the reading public to understand more about how pharmacists and their work contribute to the community and healthcare.The Cyclops Conspiracy revolves around Jason Rodgers who is a community pharmacist who becomes ensnared in and international plot. Second Chance is about Alex Benedict, a clinical pharmacist who discovers suspicious deaths in his hospital. I weave every day pharmacy scenarios into the story lines.

Fiona - 
In my article on archery (LINK) I mentioned that the heroine could use the bow and arrow to tranquilize a Yeti to take samples. A reader asked me the reality of tranquilizers. It occurred to me that that is the most frequent use of medications
in plot lines. 

Can we take some time to talk about the particulars of knocking
someone out with drugs - especially delivery, time it takes to be
effective, what symptoms a heroine might experience.
Is there anything our heroine could do to save herself
at that point?

David - 
Sure, we can definitely discuss that. Depending on the delivery method for a drug (sedative, tranquilizer), the effect will vary. 

The mortar and pestle, one of the internationa...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If someone or an animal is given a sedative orally, the effect will generally take about 45 minutes to an hour to take effect.This will depend on whether or not they have anything in their stomachs. If the stomach is empty,
you might see an effect with within thirty minutes. 

If the stomach is full and depending on the food that was eaten, it might take two hours. 

If the drugs is delivered in a liquid form, the effect will be faster than in a pill form. Drugs are absorbed in the small intestine (not the stomach) so the drug must pass through the stomach to the small intestine to be absorbed. 

Stomach diagram in Inkscape.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If a drug is administered via injection or as through the bow, the drug gets into the blood faster and the effect is generally quicker--thirty minutes or less. 

If you have a heroine who realizes they been drugged orally, they can prevent some absorption by inducing vomiting with ipecac if it's available. Another way to would be to induce the gag reflex by sticking their fingers down the throat. There are other ways to induce vomiting but their effectiveness is questionable. A mustard and water mixture, strong saline solution, even watching another person vomit can induce vomiting. If a drug has been administered by injection unless that drug has a specific antidote or reversal agent (like opiods) then there's not much she can do.

Fiona - 
I'm assuming the ingested foods that would slow absorption would be fatty?

David - 
Yes, the fattier or heavier the food, generally the longer it will delay absorption

Fiona - 

(229/365) Daily injection
(Photo credit: Sarah G...)
So even if they are shot with a dart or given a shot, they are not going to look down at the injection spot, roll their eyes back in their heads, and pass out. 

Can you tell me what a typical reaction to a drug that causes unconsciousness would be... in that thirty minutes of time could they speak? Would they slur? Are their thoughts cogent and linear? Do they lose balance, coordination, focus? Could they for example be in a gun fight ...

David -
As for the injection or the dart, perhaps ten or fifteen minutes would be a better estimate. When someone is injected, it goes into the muscle. From there it has to be absorbed through the muscle into the blood stream. This is generally very fast. If I were to inject you 
with say Demerol for pain, you would be coherent for ten minutes or so, then you would feel groggy and become less coordinated. You could still function for these few minutes before the drug takes effect. 

English: Close-up of 0.5mg tablets of the bran...
 Ativan. Generic name is Lorazepam. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Now, if you inject the drug into the vein directly (IV), the drug is immediately delivered into the blood stream, goes to the brain, and the effect is much, much quicker. Usually less than one minute. Some good drugs for tranquilizers: 
* Midazolam 
* Lorazepan (Ativan) 
* Any kind of pain killer, especially codeine, morphine. 

Then there's the old favorite, choral hydrate (not used much any more)...when taken with is what was referred to as a mickie... effects is very rapid. Naturally, when you combine these drugs with alcohol which may be the case in plots, the effects are sped up.

Fiona - 
What are some of the more comic/bizarre reactions that you've read about heard of from a drug reaction?

David - 
I've had several funny instances in terms of drug reactions.

viagra is a commercial produced medicine conta...
. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The most memorable involves a gentleman who for some reason developed priapism (which is an erection lasting more than four hours). Yes, this is what they say on the Viagra commercial. Priapism is considered a urological emergency and treatment must be immediate. It can be induced by various medications or conditions. 

In this man's case it was a drug called Trazodone which was once used for depression, but is used more for sleep these days. He went to the doctor to have the priapism treated after he showed up at my pharmacy. He limped in, bent at the waist. I asked what was wrong and he stood a little more erect (pun intended) and showed me the "pup tent" in his pants. He said it had been like that for about an hour and a half. He tried to smile (as it is quite painful) and asked if he should I call his girlfriend. I called an ambulance for him, and they took him to the ER. There, they had to insert a needle directly into his penis to drain the fluid
that was blocked in the cavernosum! Ouch!

Fiona - 
LOL I was going to ask you about the four-hour rule! So it's painful - not a pleasurable - 4 hour stint, and a helper would not in fact help?

David -
Yes, priapism is incredibly painful...or so I'm told. I never had the pleasure... or pain of experiencing it. Not a situation where you'd want to call all the women in your life!

Fiona - 
No - not all of them surely - one, maybe two...

David -
I've also had several instances with patients taking sleeping medication..getting up in the night (sleep walk) go shopping and drive around...without ever having remembered the incident. 

Then there was the well-endowed woman who had an allergic reaction to an antobiotic. She said she had a rash and didn't know what it was. I asked if she could show it to me. She promptly lifted her shirt (no bra) and showed me her rash.

Fiona - 
A rash decision, I think.

David - 
I also had a woman who complained once that she was having some problems with the suppositories she received from us several years back. She was an elderly lady. She said the supp were hurting when she used them. She brought the used 
supp in (Fiona interrupts, USED? Ugh!) and showed them to me. Using my well-honed clinical skills, I was able to determine what the problem was. I said to her, "Mrs. Jones (named changed), you have to remove the wrapper before you insert the suppository. Now when I type the labels I type, "unwrap and insert one suppository." I've been doing that for about ten years now. I've never had another problem after that.

Fiona - 
What are some ways legal and not so very legal that a villain could get hold of drugs to administer for their nefarious plans?

David - 
One way for a villain to obtain drugs is through doctor shopping. We see this a lot in pharmacy. People shop around for doctors that will prescribe the medicine they want. They take it to the pharmacy and get them filled then sell or use them on the street. 

Another way would be buying medications from a corrupt pharmacist without a prescription. 

Stealing them from friends or family members who use the drugs legitimately. 

Nurses can steal them, doctors as well. 

Amazon Link

Perhaps through a college campus if they are using stimulants.

Fiona - 
Would it be hard for someone to double or triple dip? Go to several doctors to get pain pills etc. that they were abusing? Or would this show up in a system somewhere?

David -

No it would not be hard to double or triple dip.

There is monitoring program called the Prescription Monitoring Program in which all pharmacies submit prescription data to the state. Pharmacists and doctors can access the info in it. Someone can still get pills without being detected if the pharmacy or MD do not check the website. The program does not automatically warn doctors or pharmacists; they have to take the time to go into the site. This usually happens when we become suspicious of a patient. But not everyone accesses it.
Fiona - 
Tell me abut your writing. Pharmacy and writing seem to be worlds apart.

David - 

I find writing to be an incredible outlet for creativity. It is different from pharmacy in the sense that as a pharmacist I respond to patients and doctors and prescriptions. Where as in my writing, I can really explore my creative side and use pharmacy in ways I never imagined. 

I plan on continuing my writing. I am currently at work on the sequel to The Cyclops Conspiracy which will be out in paperback in Feb 2015. readers can check out my website: or find me on Facebook. And I'd love to help with any medicine or pharmacy related questions or issues.

Fiona -
David, that's incredibly generous of you. 

Want to see this article in action?
Check out this Fiona Quinn novel 

Thank you so much for stopping by. And thank you for your support. When you buy my books, you make it possible for me to continue to bring you helpful articles and keep ThrillWriting free and accessible to all.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Arid Climate and Desert Survival: Helping Your Heroine Stay Alive with JT Sawyer

Fiona -

Let's start by introducing you to the readers. Can you tell us what you do for a living, and your background?

JT - 
I work as a full-time survival and bushcraft instructor in the Southwest. My training company provides 1-21 day courses in desert and mountain survival for the general public and the military special operations community. I started out writing non-fiction books on survival about twelve years ago
and now have seven titles out.

Fiona - 
Okay, so JT I have a heroine, and she is stranded (by some horrible plot twist written by some equally twisted author) out in the middle of the desert with no water. Can you walk me through how this intrepid heroine would save her life? 

Maybe touch on some of the myths and truths of the situation. Right now all I've got in my survive-the-desert file is the image of Bear Grylls peeing on his shirt and wrapping it around his head...That doesn't seem like much help.

JT - 
Well, first, she'll want to stay put during the heat of the day, from 11 am to 4 pm so she doesn't turn into jerky. That means keeping covered like a cowboy, hole up in the shade, and conserve precious sweat. 
Keeping covered will increase survival time in the heat by 25% so skip working on the tan.

Cholla desert
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Avoid trying to get water from cactus as it's high in alkaloids and will only make her sick; avoid solar stills as they are merely a cool, reality-show staple; and, by all means, avoid swigging down urine which will only add to her heat stress.

Fiona - 
Oh, thank god, no urine swigging.

I have a question about cover. Let's say our heroine was driving along and her car broke down. I'm assuming she should stay with her car but not in her car. What if there is no shade to be found?

JT - 
North-facing boulders, stringing up a tarp off the hood of the vehicle or over some walking sticks.. these are a few things that we've done. 
Pull a seat out during the day or sit on a spare tire in the shade of the vehicle, then retreat back inside during the cooler hours of the night.

The desert is one place you really have to be self-contained as you can't even meet 3 of your 5 critical priorities (shelter, water, and fire). Staying with the vehicle, which is hopefully well-stocked with gear and water, is the best bet. It's like having a rolling survival kit, and it's much easier for searchers to spot. 

You've also got your car horn and mirrors for signaling so staying put is always better than walking out unless you failed to leave a travel plan with someone and, then, you are truly on your own.

Fiona -
Ha! I thought you were going to say she was shit out of luck

JT - 
I'll take luck any day, but when you're luck runs out your better have some skills!

Fiona - 

JT - 
You have around 48 hours survival time in the heat without any water, if you are smart with your own sweat. By this I mean, holing up, adapting, not moving around during the heat of the day, as mentioned. There are a lot of variables to survival time such as time of year, temperature, injuries, fitness level, body weight & age, etc... so she might be fine for 4 hours to 48 hours without water depending on her activity level and the factors listed above.

Video Quick Study (5:25) Intro to desert survival
Video Quick Study (6:32) Desert Shelter
Video Quick Study (6:21) a variety of desert shelters

Fiona - 
What physical traits would add to her survival, barring massive health issues.

JT - 
Being aerobically fit is key. 

Any time I am going to working/teaching in the triple-digit heat, I amp up my aerobic workouts in the weeks leading up to the event. Being thin can be an asset, I suppose. 

Not consuming any food unless you have water to go with it is key as doing so can further dehydrate you. 

Adaptation to heat stress takes about a week, and we see many very fit hikers and even triathletes succumb to heat exhaustion in the Grand Canyon, Death Valley, etc... because they have "big engines but little radiators." Dousing yourself with water (wet t-shirt) will help with convective cooling, too.

First aid
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Time-out for First-Aid 101
Heat exhaustion is part of a spectrum of heat induced medical conditions, starting with heat cramps and moving - sometimes rapidly - to heat stroke. 

Heat exhaustion is a medical emergency and must be treated as such.
* Being active in a hot environment can overwhelm a
   person's ability to regulate their body temperature.
* Heat Exhaustion symptoms include:
   `muscle cramps
   `profuse sweating
* When the body progresses past the point where it can cope then
   the following symptoms might occur:
   `If possible remove person to cooler environment
   `Rehydration is PARAMOUNT
   `Because heat induced symptoms can include vomiting sometimes
    rehydrating is difficult and requires an IV infusion.
    Link to further information

Video Quick Study (3:24) Tony Nester talks about signs of dehydration and choices about drinking untreated water and water purification. Caution about iodine tablets - who knew?

All Giza Pyramids in one shot. Русский: Все пи...
. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Fiona - 
Once, I went on a camel safari in Egypt. My experience with the desert was that when it was 129 degrees outside, my brain functioned erratically, and I forgot things like nouns. At night it was freezing cold, even by a fire. These extremes, I thought, were very
physically exhausting. Is this
your experience as well?

JT - 
You nailed it for sure- the desert is a land of extremes. 

Most visitors to the Southwest think of the cactus and the heat but often forget about the fact that we get snow. (6" yesterday at my house!) I've been out on field courses where we're cooking during the day in 110+ degree heat and then cloaked in a down jacket come nightfall. The fact that a desert has little cloud cover causes the radiated heat of the day to dissipate quickly at night. 

Yuma, Arizona holds the record out here where it once went from 120 F during the day to 34 F at night so you really have to be prepared by having water and electrolytes along with a fleeced or down jacket, even in the summer.

English: The Sonoran Desert near Yuma, Arizona...
The Sonoran Desert near Yuma, Arizona  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Fiona - 
Look JT, our heroine is still sitting in her car. She didn't tell anyone where she was going - she's on her own. She's decided that she needs to hike out to save her life. What should she take with her from the car?

JT - 
English: Polycarbonate water bottle
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
All the water she can carry! Even if it means lugging 3-4 gallons which is what she may consume in just one day in the searing heat.

Next, an umbrella would sure be handy for creating instant shade. 

Bust off a side-view mirror for later use in signaling and cut the seat belts out for lashing material or shoulder straps for carrying water. A CD, while becoming rare, can be used for signaling as well as a cutting implement. 

Some transmission or brake fluid can be used for assisting with fire lighting (not hard in the desert much of the year). Hopefully, she has some food, first-aid kit, knife, etc... but water and the ability to create shade/shelter are going to be the two most critical items to carry.

Video Quick Study (8:06) Finding Water in the Desert
Video - a little bit longer Study (19:39) More Finding Water in the  Desert
Video Study (25:08) 3rd part of Finding Water in the Desert
Video Quick Study (9:04) Finding your way the heck out of there.

Link to Ancient Pathways other videos with Tony Nester

Fiona - 
Wonderful. Now I'm going to admit to you that I'm not a huge zombie fan. But I really want to read your books because I love reading about survival. Can you tell us a little about your novels and how you put your years of bush craft experience to good use for our edification and entertainment?

JT - 

Amazon Link 99 cents!

In reading a lot of books in this genre over the years and having grown up on zombie flicks, I was always drawn to the types of characters who relied more on their brains and tactics than on their blazing automatic weapons to solve problems. Plus, having been out on month-long survival treks where you depend on the dynamics and cooperation of a small group of people, I really wanted to show what was possible, in terms of bushcraft and extended living, where the umbilical cord to civilization is severed. Readers have commented that they enjoy the fact that there is

a blend of survival, relationship
development, and military tactics
amidst a backdrop of zombies.

Fiona - 
That brings to mind an article I read about being stranded in the ocean. The author came to the conclusion that it is better to be alone because panic is contagious. I'm sure it depends on the personalities involved, but are your characters happy to be in a small group? Or do your guides wish they only had to look out for themselves? Help or hindrance or a little of both? 
(I'm also thinking of their sharing limited resources...)

JT - 
The main character is a recently retired from the military and he was looking to get away from it all by going on a 22-day river trip with a friend who was leading a small commercial trip. He quickly finds out the world has unraveled from a pandemic. He is once more thrust into a leadership role. So he is definitely a reluctant figure but has little choice, given his skills. 

Amazon Link 99 cents!
I have quite a lot of very strong female characters in this books and have had a lot of women tell me how much they enjoyed the characters and how the female leads balanced out the male characters. I have found on field courses that are all men, they often have very little social dynamics compared to groups that have even women present. The latter courses are always more lively, fun, and way more banter involved compared to the lone-wolf, "I don't need any advice" mentality of the all-male groups. Again, I've tried to incorporate these
strong male-female elements in the
story rather than it being simply a
slaughter-fest against the undead.

Fiona - 
JT you are beyond awesome. Now my

final question is this - what is the story
behind your favorite scar?

JT - 
My favorite scar would have to be the Uncle in the Lion King. 

Seriously, I have an embarrassing scar on my left ribs that came from working a military course. I was teaching a class on mantraps and evasion for a special forces unit who came out for a 9-day survival course. 

Amazon Link 99 cents!
We had gone over how to set a particular type of trap whose trigger mechanism (the part that springs once the trap is released) was place about twelve feet up in a tree. I had just set the trap and was standing on this branch, explaining to the soldiers below just how this was all supposed to work when the branch cracked, and I slipped down about four feet. No big deal as I caught myself on another branch. However, while sliding along the tree trunk, I gashed open my side on the broken branch. I wasn't about to complain or grimace given my audience below. I just grated my teeth
together while muttering how the trap
could be used. Once we were finished,
I climbed down and had my medic patch
me up. 

I still shake my head and laugh about how "effective" a mantrap can be, especially for the instructor setting it!

Thank you so much for stopping by. And thank you for your support. When you buy my books, you make it possible for me to continue to bring you helpful articles and keep ThrillWriting free and accessible to all.

PS - I bought and read all of JT's books. My very first zombie books. While I'm not a fan of that genre - I thought JT's books were fabulous reads. I even e-mailed to him to ask for a sneak peek at his latest (now available). Audacious I know, but I needed to know what happened next! 
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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Narcissism: Is Your Villain in Love With Himself? Info for Writers

Oil on canvas
Oil on canvas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Narcissism exists in every human being along a continuum.

At the far end of this spectrum is a DSM V (the psych bible for diagnosis) mental health disorder called Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Having this full-blown personality disorder is rare. 

Video Quick Study (5:58) Narcissism on a spectrum                 normal v. pathological
Video Quick Study (2:14) Good quick over-view.

Narcissistic Traits include:

  • Grandiosity - exaggerates achievements and talents and expects others to see them as superior
  • Fantasies of unlimited success - power, brilliant intellect, beauty...
  • Belief that they are very special snowflakes and should only associate with people of their ilk
  • Requires excessive admiration - hyper-sensitive to criticism
  • Lacks empathy
  • Arrogance, haughtiness
  • Envy - of others and a belief that others envy them
  • Sense of entitlement - people should do what they asked, just because they asked/want it to be so. 
  • Takes advantage of others to achieve their personal goals. 

  • They can't be generous - strings are always attached
  • They get angry when they are criticized or disputed
  • Often artificially charming
  • Often pathological liars
  • THE KEY COMPONENT is self-absorption

Video Quick Study (3:22) Narcissist in action
Video Quick Study (11:18) Body language - excellent for
                              character development 

LOE3 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Narcissistic Defense

  • Narcissism is a defense. Narcissism is a defense. Narcissism is a defense.
  • All of the components in the list above are example of ways that the narcissistic personality protects  itself. 
  • You are dealing with a weak villain   trying to gain strength. 
  • They are perceived as strong - too strong - but they are not; they are emotionally weak.
  • It's okay for your heroine to support  their defenses and  not challenge them. She just needs to be aware that she is bolstering   someone who is weak and not buying into the delusions herself.
  • Projection - They believe that the heroine is the problem not them.
  • Isolation - Narcissists isolate people and do not like   individuals to interact with one another

Video Quick Study (0:55) Narcissism in action

Narcissism in a Relationship

  • Hopefully, our heroine is not in a relationship with a narcissist; she learned the signs and ran for the woods when the narcissist    started ringing her doorbell. 
    Video Quick Study (6:27) Red flags that would clue your heroine

  • No? She got sucked in? She read the insightful magazine article just a little too late? She can try to stay grounded and true to herself while in the relationship by: 
    • identifying and admitting that there is a problem.
    • not challenging the other person's delusions - which is a waste of time.
    • surrounding herself with healthy relationships who remind her about what the truth is
    • She can seek therapy, journal, do yoga, exercise, eat healthfully etc. things that keep her centered
  • Set boundaries
  • Sometimes holding one's ground - being one's truth if you will - can cause rage and abusiveness in a narcissist. This is when your heroine should SERIOUSLY consider extricating herself from the relationship. Here abuse can be physical but is more likely emotional abuse.
  • Remember that a narcissist has an agenda - your heroine cannot make them better - not through compassion, not through sacrifice, no way, no how, nothing she can do or say will make this better.
  • In order for your heroine to get her needs met when she's in a relationship with a narcissist she should never state her needs. 

She should always frame her requests in ego-stroking ways. Instead of saying I'd like for us to go to the beach with my friends, she would instead say something like, "My friends really like you and enjoy spending time with you. We want to go to the beach and it just won't be the same unless you are there with us."

  • Your heroine's vulnerability will set the narcissist off - will make them emotionally attack.
  • Narcissists need the heroine's pain to feel good themselves
  • Really the best thing for your heroine to do once she realizes that the love of her life is in the severe range of narcissism is run.
   Run far. Run fast. And make a no-contact rule. - Remember we
   ALL have narcissistic tendencies  - we are talking about severe
   cases here.

Video Quick Study (5:36) Breaking away from a narcissist
                                (emotions, thoughts)
Video Quick Study (9:11) How to break up with a narcissist. 
                                (physical behavior)

What kinds of character might have stronger narcissistic traits?

Al Murray as (left to right) Roger Dennis, Hor...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Actors
  • Performers
  • Politicians
  • People who put themselves out in the public eye.

Why did he turn out this way?

Groopman and Cooper (2006) listed the following factors identified by various researchers as possibilities:[Groopman, Leonard C. M.D.; Cooper, Arnold M. M.D. (2006). "Narcissistic Personality Disorder". Personality Disorders – Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Armenian Medical Network. Retrieved 2007-02-14
  • An oversensitiveness temperament (personality traits) at birth.
  • Excessive admiration that is never balanced with realistic feedback.
  • Excessive praise for good behaviors or excessive criticism for bad behaviors in childhood.
  • Overindulgence and overvaluation by parents, other family members, or peers.
  • Being praised for perceived exceptional looks or abilities by adults.
  • Severe emotional abuse in childhood.
  • Unpredictable or unreliable caregiving from parents.
  • Learning manipulative behaviors from parents.
  • Valued by parents as a means to regulate their own self-esteem.

See how this article influenced my plot lines in my novella MINE and my novel CHAOS IS COME AGAIN.

Thank you so much for stopping by. And thank you for your support. When you buy my books, you make it possible for me to continue to bring you helpful articles and keep ThrillWriting free and accessible to all.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Forensic Serology: Body Fluid Information for Writers


Soldiers of the United States Army Criminal In...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia
At the scene of a violent crime, investigators will look for serology samples.
(CSI blog link)

Serology is simply the study of bodily fluids.

These fluids include:
* Blood
* Semen
* Saliva
* Sweat
* Tears
* Vomit
* Vaginal secretions

These fluids can be found either on the skin or transferred to another surface.

While serology tests can EXCLUDE a subject who is thought to be a person of interest, it can not find them culpable.

Serology tests are class studies and cannot tie a body fluid to a specific and unique source.
Only DNA testing can link a specific individual to a crime. (DNA blog link)

Presumptive tests - likelihood of something being what you think it is in the field.

* Sometimes a false positive - but you never want a false negative because then a detective could walk away
   from evidence and make false conclusions about the scene

Is there blood present but not visible to the naked eye?
* Fluorescein - precursor to Luminol goes back to 1900s
   `Is not thwarted by chlorine bleach
Blood Stained Floorboard Treated with Luminol
Blood Stained Floorboard Treated with Luminol (Photo credit: Jack Spades)
   ` Uses UV light to glow
   `Still used in the field today
   `Thicker than Luminol so good for
     vertical surfaces
* Luminol/BlueStar
   `Does not work if chlorine bleach
    was used to clean up the blood
   `Complicates further testing by
    diluting the blood
   `Needs darkness

When you write a scene that includes either of these tests, please remember that the blood is not visible to the naked eye because it was cleaned up. When the blood was cleaned, it was smeared around. The Luminol or Fluorecein will show up in smear streaks NOT blood spatter. NOT hand prints.

Video Quick Study (2:49) Shows luminescence of BlueStar

Is that blood? Testing for a visible stain:
At FBI doing serology tests
* Leucomalachite Green
   Video Quick Study (4:28)
* Kastle-Meyer test - phenolthaline and hydrogen
   peroxide that detects the hemoglobin in blood
   `produces a dark pink.
   `blood can come from any animal
   Video Quick Study (1:01)

Video Quick Study (7:41) CSI teacher shows how the three presumptive blood tests are conducted.

Once the presumptive tests show that a substance is blood then the collection is sent to the lab where they undergo confirmatory tests:

1. Is it human blood?

   * The serology labs have stocks of antigens that are found in animals but not humans.
   * Samples of common animals such as: dog, cat, rabbit, deer, chicken etc. antigens  are maintained for
   * If the test shows an antigen reacting with an antibody then that determines the species type.

2. Once it is determined that the blood is human then blood test typing is done.
   * Blood Type
Diagram of ABO blood groups and the IgM antibo...
Diagram of ABO blood groups and the IgM antibodies present in each.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
    `ABO system
    `Rh Protein (not used in forensic science)
    `Genetically inherited
    `Can be determined not just from
     blood but also from other body secretions.
    ` Blood type is class evidence. It is NOT
      individuating evidence. So it can only be
      used to show that someone COULD NOT
      have done the crime but cannot be used to
      prove that some did - that would require

Video Not Quite So Quick Study (14:00) Goes over this thoroughly if it is an important point in you plot and you need a firm grasp on the importance of blood typing.


Sperm (album)
Sperm (album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
* Can be found in a dead woman's body for up
   to two weeks
* In a living sexual assault victim sperm can only
   be found for about five hours after the crime
* After 72 hours in a live victim there may be no
   remaining evidence of sperm or semen
* Acid phosphatase is a presumptive field test.
   Acid Phosphate is made in the seminal
   vesicles in males but also in:
   `non-human animals
   `plants and fungi
   `found in vaginal fluids.
* Microscopic search for sperm cells in a
    sample is a confirmatory test
 * Microscopic sperm search is NOT useful if
    the man has had a vasectomy
* PSA (Prostate-specific Antigen) is considered

Video Quick Study (1:01) Acid Phosphatase Test

Video Quick Study (3:15) Storage and container information for serology samples
Video Quick Study (2:31) Serologist at trial giving testimony - note the packaging of the items

Using various wave length light sources to find bodily fluids at a crime scene
All body fluids fluoresce except for blood which absorbs light
Body fluids must be dry to fluoresce except for urine (which will sometime fluoresce when wet)
Video Quick Study (2:00)

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