Disease of kings – and queens

Kaitlyn Conley, 23, of Sauquoit in the state of New York, has been charged with the second-degree murder of Mary Louise Yoder, 60, who was her boss at a chiropractitioner.

Nothing much unusual about that perhaps; who hasn’t fantasised about butchering the boss?

Except that Conley allegedly used a rather unusual means – poisoning with a substance called colchicine, a useful drug in small doses; like the ancient Egyptians, it’s normally used for treating gout, the ‘disease of kings’.

An easily obtained drug, colchicine lingers in the body; an overdose can cause abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, leading to confusion, a drop in blood pressure, shock, respiratory distress, kidney failure and eventually cardiovascular collapse.

The drug can be purchased in capsules containing a flavourless powder; making tracing it considerably more difficult than say cyanide.


Picture source: Walters Art Museum via Wikimedia Commons