|MadSci Network: Medicine|
Determing if victims were alive before or after a plane crash is one of the more poignant tasks of a medical examiner. If a person is alive and breathing while the cabin fills with smoke, his lungs will have deposits of soot on their walls. You see the same effect with fire victims who have suffered smoke inhalation: two large smears of soot under the nostrils. If the lungs are found not to contain soot, then it can be concluded that the victim was not breathing when the smoke filled the cabin. I recommend rubbing some decolorizing carbon on one side of some of the pieces of ginger to simulate such soot deposits.
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