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    tinynurselady's Avatar
    tinynurselady Posts: 2, Reputation: 1
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    #1

    May 21, 2008, 08:38 AM
    Mouth open after death
    My friend at work said her mom was found dead in her nursing home room with her mouth open. Is this normal? An aide had given her a drink of water and they are worried that she choked. Since he left the room right after, they are worried she was left alone choking and died. Is this possible?
    smearcase's Avatar
    smearcase Posts: 2,392, Reputation: 316
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    #2

    May 21, 2008, 03:28 PM
    I don't know about the lady in your question, of course. But I saw three elderly relatives shortly after they died and they all had open mouths. I was with two of them for the last hour of there lives and their breathing became increasingly more shallow. I am not a medical person but I figured the mouths were open because the lungs were low on air due to the very shallow breathing and the mouth being open was the body's reflex to let more air in. I may be all wet about why---but I did witness it happening 3 times.
    Xrayman's Avatar
    Xrayman Posts: 1,177, Reputation: 193
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    #3

    May 21, 2008, 05:31 PM
    It would be the masseter muscles relaxing-the mouth will relax when you die-falling open.

    Did your mother have water in her lungs at the post mortem-then this would indicate that she drowned /choked on the water.
    progunr's Avatar
    progunr Posts: 1,971, Reputation: 288
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    #4

    May 21, 2008, 05:34 PM
    Yes, there is nothing unusual about the mouth opening at, or shortly after, the time of death.
    Fr_Chuck's Avatar
    Fr_Chuck Posts: 81,302, Reputation: 7692
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    #5

    May 21, 2008, 06:12 PM
    As noted the mouth being open is more normal than closed. This shows nothing as to the issue. I know that a loss is always hard, but trying to put blame will not help.
    tinynurselady's Avatar
    tinynurselady Posts: 2, Reputation: 1
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    #6

    May 22, 2008, 06:44 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by Xrayman
    It would be the masseter muscles relaxing-the mouth will relax when you die-falling open.

    Did your mother have water in her lungs at the post mortem-then this would indicate that she drowned /choked on the water.


    My friend said they did not do an autopsy since she had other health issues. She siad that both she and her brother wished now that they had. I am not sure what her health problems were, but my friend is in her 60's so I would imagine her mom was older than 80. Thanks for your input!
    AngelBud626's Avatar
    AngelBud626 Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
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    #7

    Jul 20, 2012, 09:27 AM
    My Mom died of Parkinson's Disease, and her mouth was wide open when I got to the Rest Home. Her Eyes were open too.I was wondering why & if that was normal?
    DrBill100's Avatar
    DrBill100 Posts: 3,241, Reputation: 502
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    #8

    Jul 20, 2012, 09:45 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by ;
    My Mom died of Parkinson's Disease, and her mouth was wide open when I got to the Rest Home. Her Eyes were open too.I was wondering why & if that was normal?
    It is entirely normal and very common. Determined by position at time of death and cessation of muscle control.

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