Intravenous self-administration of metallic mercury in attempted suicide. Report of a case with serial roentgenographic and physiologic studies over an 18-month period

Chest. 1978 Feb;73(2):234-6. doi: 10.1378/chest.73.2.234.


This report describes a 23-year-old white man who injected metallic mercury from a thermometer into his antecubital vein in an attempt at suicide. Despite the persistence of mercury throughout both pulmonary fields on chest x-ray films over an 18-month period of observation, no clinical or physiologic derangement of pulmonary function has developed. In addition, no clinical or biochemical evidence of acute or chronic mercury poisoning in any other organ has appeared during these 18 months, even though metallic mercury is seen in the abdominal viscera on roentgenographic examination. The literature on suicidal and accidental poisoning with metallic mercury is reviewed.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Depression / complications
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging*
  • Male
  • Mercury Poisoning / diagnostic imaging*
  • Mercury Poisoning / etiology
  • Mercury Poisoning / pathology
  • Radiography, Abdominal
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Suicide, Attempted*
  • Thermometers