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Case Study

1276 words - 6 pages

The Hot Tub Mystery:
The Story of a Very HOT Tub
Herbert House
Biology Department
Elon University, Elon, NC

Part I—The Discovery
Cast of Characters

Sam Garrison—Detective
Roma and Clint Underhill—The hot couple
Kavita Dickson and Larry Gonzales—emt paramedics
Renee Volenbach—Physiologist in the Biology Department at Noletown University

Friday, 7PM
Roma and Clint Underhill had both had a long day. They were the owners of a successful real estate
company in Desert Palm. Each had several clients, and the strain of the current real estate market was
getting to them. It had been an unusually cool day for January, with temperatures hovering around 
degrees. On coming home they decided ...view middle of the document...

Let’s see if we can get them out.” Larry climbed in after her and together they
“The Hot Tub Mystery” by Herbert House

Page 1

dragged the bodies out of the hot tub and onto the patio. It was obvious that both had been dead for some
time. Kavita called the dispatcher.
“Listen, Linda, this hot tub case is a doa, but something is not right. How about sending the medical
examiner and a detective out to look the situation over. Tell them to bring a thermometer!”

1. What observations did the paramedics make?
2. List the questions raised about this situation or that you think that the investigators should ask of
the maid.
3. List any physiological effects that you think would be associated with this situation.
4. How might these physiological effects have contributed to the Underhills’ death?
5. Make an initial speculation about the cause of the Underhills’ death.

“The Hot Tub Mystery” by Herbert House

Page 2

Part II—The Investigation
Saturday, 9:30AM
“ degrees! What is this thing doing so hot?” Sam Garrison asked Kavita as he removed the thermometer
from the water.
He was investigating the death of Roma and Clint Underhill, prominent real estate brokers in Desert Palm.
“This hot tub should be no more than  degrees.”
He remembered reading a Consumer Product Safety Commission flyer on hot tubs and wondered if the tub
was associated with the death. The bodies were being taken away for autopsy as he took in the scene.
“Hmm. What about these bottles of wine? It looks like they had a party—all by themselves! The medical
examiner will check their blood alcohol level (bal, or blood alcohol concentration—bac) and we’ll be able
to see his complete report on Monday. We may even be able to determine their cause of death with that
information. I’ll ask the maid about any medications.”
He went into the sunroom off of the patio to where the maid was being consoled by another officer.
“Ma’am, can you tell me if the Underhills were taking any medicine?”
“Well, sir, I know he was complaining about having to use the bathroom a lot since he returned from the
doctor’s office about two weeks ago. You might look in the cabinet over the sink where they keep aspirin and
Sam looked where she indicated and found a recently filled bottle of Lasix.

Monday Afternoon
Monday afternoon, the medical examiner phoned Sam with the following information:
• bal of the couple was .
• Roma weighed  lbs; Clint weighed  lbs
• Time of death estimated at am Saturday morning
• There was a therapeutic level of Lasix in Mr. Underhill’s blood, but none in Mrs. Underhill’s blood

1. Do you think that the couple died before or as a result of going under the water of the hot tub?...

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