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pugilistic stanceJoe Segen2016-12-16T06:44:09+00:00
A descriptive term for a position seen in severely burned bodies, which is characterised by flexion of elbows, knees, hip, and neck, and clenching of the hand into a fist, a position fancifully likened to the defensive posture adopted by pugilists-boxers.
The pugilistic stance is due to high temperatures, which cause muscle stiffening and shortening and occurs in most bodies during fires, regardless of whether the person was dead or alive at the time of the fire.
It is of interest to determine whether a person died by being burned to death, which for many, is an ultimate horror. A lawyer for the family of a decedent may try to establish that he/she died in agony, and show the jury photographs of the victim’s charred body, doubled in a fetal crouch, inferring that the person died in excruciating pain. The jury may react by awarding the estate a million-dollar settlement against the party held responsible for the fire. A person alive at the time of the fire, who died during the fire almost invariably has soot and carbon on the mucosa of the tracheobronchial tree.
Synonyms Pugilist attitude, pugilist posture, pugilist stance, pugilistic attitude, pugilistic posture