understanding death by hanging

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understanding death by hanging

Postby meowth » Fri Mar 04, 2011 2:06 am


i don't know whether or not this is appropriate to post...if it's not, can a moderator please remove it? anyway, my mom died by hanging, and for a LONG time i scoured the internet for anything i could to understand the pathophysiology of her death. i wanted to know if she lost consciousness quickly and thus could not "feel" her death, or if she was aware and in excrucriating pain for minutes, hours, feeling every bit of the suffocation. i hoped that reading a police or coroner's report that described the death clinically would provide some insight. but i didn't know the case number and therefore gave up on obtaining the report.

but i couldn't shake that question from my thoughts. and finally... i found a report in the journal of forensic sciences from 2010 that had exactly what i was looking for. and it gave me an IMMENSE sense of peace. i don't know how to post an attachment... so i'll just describe the findings here. eight filmed hangings were studied. (they were filmed either because a psychiatric patient's suicide was filmed on the security camera, or it was a filmed autoerotic hanging, etc.) the nature of each hanging was generally different; some were in standing position, some were kneeling, some of the knots were in different positions. and in all 8 cases, consciousness was lost between 8-13 seconds.

a number of things happened after that (convulsions, loss of muscle tone), but the important thing is that it was ALWAYS preceded by loss of consciousness. and after reading that, i almost felt like i could sleep better. at least i get comfort knowing that in spite of all her emotional pain, at least my mom's last moments included only minimal physical pain. so i'm posting in hopes that it'll bring some of you peace like it did for me.
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Re: understanding death by hanging

Postby Nik's mum » Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:09 am

Dear Meowth - thank you so much for that could you pm me the link so that I can read this. I lost my son 13 months ago and like you have tried to find anything I can about hanging but must say have found not very much at all. Knowing that he would only have suffered for seconds is still a lot for me to bear but at least I now have some comfort as I have been imagining that the way he suffered in his final act could have lasted for much longer. Thank you.
It's easy to remember him I do it every day
But there's a pain within my heart that will never go away


love and miss you more each passing day
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Nik's mum
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Re: understanding death by hanging

Postby Crystl » Sat Mar 05, 2011 2:05 am

I'd also like to see the link please...
I know there are different types of 'hanging'
my sons was death by strangulation..(hanging)
another woman at SOS groups son died by broken neck (hanging)
I hope none of our children had to suffer any pain..
*hugs* to you meowth.
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Re: understanding death by hanging

Postby cmarie » Sat Mar 05, 2011 9:41 am

A while ago someone on the forum ( I am sorry I can't remember who) read the autopsy report, and maybe even spoke to the coroner. She shared with us that she learned that when someone hangs them self they almost all lose consciousness immediately. Her words brought me great peace.
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Re: understanding death by hanging

Postby cedar » Sun Mar 06, 2011 9:35 pm

I've thought of how my nephew died continuously. Did he struggle; did he try to stop and get out of it; could he have? Did this bring peace...a certain measure of it. I wish I knew how to get the image of him in this state out of my mind, though...I think that may be there for awhile.

Stay well everyone.
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Re: understanding death by hanging

Postby crisa » Mon Mar 07, 2011 2:09 am

My bf died by hanging and I searched and searched for info in that first year! I kept remembering how his cousin told me, the best they could figure is he jumped off the table as hard as he could! I don't know if that means he broke his neck, I talked to his cousin w/in a few hrs of him being found, so I was in too much of a fog to ask questions. My bf's funeral was closed casket and not b/c the family wanted it that way, but b/c the funeral home said it needed to be. I don't know if it was b/c he broke his neck or if he was swollen or what.
In that first year I replayed how it might have all happened over and over again. I don't do that anymore. I felt like I was driving myself crazy trying to figure it all out.
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Re: understanding death by hanging

Postby daybyday » Tue Mar 08, 2011 5:10 pm

I think I held my breath the whole time I read your post. It just really hit home. I can't relate to a hanging death, as my dad died by carbon minoxide, but I also scoured every post online, every book, etc looking for answers. I can't think about it too much as it makes me ill but I remember obsessing over it for some time. I'm glad you found some answers and a little peace along with it.

Thanks for your post.
Just taking it day by day. I miss you, Dad.
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Re: understanding death by hanging

Postby mariner » Wed Mar 09, 2011 12:01 pm

My mom passed away 1.5 months ago by the same means and I too searched online to see whether she suffered. I couldn't find a lot of information. However, when I was a young boy I used to play with the neighborhood kids. We once played this game, obviously not a smart game when I think about it now, but we didn't know any better at that time. The game was to make someone pass out. You exhale as much air as you can and the other guy comes behind you and grabs your stomach and squeezes the rest of the air out of your lungs while you continue to exhale. Once the person passes out, you gentle lay them down and then wake them up. We tried a few times but never did it correctly until one attempt. I passed out but my friend did not lay me onto the ground. Instead he just watched me as I fell towards the ground face first. I nearly broke my nose b/c when I woke up, my nose was completely bloody. Let's just say we never played that game again. However, when I woke up, I didn't feel what transpired during the prior few seconds. I didn't feel my face and nose hit the ground at a standing height. I didn't feel the pain of my nose and face smack on the ground hard enough to give me a nose bleed. I had no idea what happened or didn't feel any pain. I believe you pass out fairly quickly if someone hangs themself b/c the rope nearly always puts pressure on the carotid arteries which prevents blood from the body going to the face. Once you pass out you don't feel anything just like my not so smart childhood stunt.
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Re: understanding death by hanging

Postby tamh1234 » Wed Mar 09, 2011 8:06 pm

My brother passed away on Aug. 28, 2010, five months ago, by hanging. I also wondered if he suffered and was in a lot of physical pain when he did it. I wondered if he started and then changed his mind. But then I found out that if all he had to do was stand up and he could have stopped it. But if a person loses consciousness in as little as 8 seconds then whatever pain he felt was very short lived and he didn't have enough time to really change his mind. It is a relief to know that he didn't suffer. Thank you for posting this and letting me know. I also would like to read the article if you can send the link to me in a PM. Thank you and I am truly sorry for your lost.
I love you, little brother, and miss you more than words could ever say.
Kenny 9/10/61 - 08/24/11
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Re: understanding death by hanging

Postby heather » Wed Mar 09, 2011 10:48 pm


Thank you so much for sharing, I held my breath for thirteen seconds after I read the post. I was searching for some sort of understanding my self and I too would love to read the article....as my brother chose suicide by hanging as well. One way to share the article is to go to the web page, then go to the web address bar and right click and copy the actual page address then you just past it in a reply.

I am so sorry for the loss of your mother, (((hugs))) and I am so pleased that you shared this information, perhaps by sharing one can find some sort of healing relief...Bless you

Brent A. Crawford May 2, 1976 - December 8, 2010
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