August 3, 2017

Herbert Klutz

Did an overdose of prescription painkillers were responsible for the death of a Swiss expat in Chiang Mai? The wife of the 58-year-old believes so.

Herbert Klutz, a 58-year-old expatriate from Switzerland, was found dead by his wife Wijidra Klutz on the bed of their rented house in Chiang Dao district of Chiang Mai province on Thursday morning. “We were notified of the incident at about 11:20 via radio,” Pol Lt Col Banawut Chotpong told reporters. “The only information we received was that a foreigner had died at his home.”

Pol Lt Col Banawut and Pol Capt Kongdet Baenjankiao, both investigators from Chiang Dao Provincial Police Station, were sent to the two-storey house at 456 Mu 1 in Chiang Dao subdistrict. A doctor from Chiang Dao Hospital and volunteers of a local rescue foundation accompanied the police.

When officers arrived on the scene, the wife led them to the bedroom on the second floor. “We found Mr Klutz laying on the bed with his face up,” Pol Lt Col Banawut, who is leading the investigation, said later that day. “He was dressed wearing only navy-blue shorts and no t-shirt. The skin had already turned white.” Police believe Mr Klutz had been dead for about one hour before officials arrived.

“We questioned the wife, Mrs Wijidra, who told us that her husband had been suffering from a heart-related condition and a herniated disc.” To treat his diseases, Mr Klutz frequently visited Chiang Dao Hospital but started to complain about severe pain shortly afterwards.

To ease the pain, doctors had prescribed Mr Klutz “a very strong painkiller” which police did not describe further. “He always took a lot of tablets because he was in so much pain and lost his appetite,” Mrs Wijidra told investigators. “I think he took too much and eventually overdosed,” she suspected.

Farang Deaths consulted a doctor at Siriraj Hospital who said that painkiller overdoses are far from uncommon. “Based on his wife’s observations, the drug Mr Klutz was using was most likely a strong opiate such as morphine or oxycodone,” the doctor said on the condition of anonymity.

“Opiates and opioids are among the most effective painkillers available these days. However, a heavy overdose can cause respiratory depression and hypoxia which can lead to full breathing arrest. Another common side effect is the loss of appetite which Mrs Wijidra had already mentioned.”

According to Mrs Wijidra’s statement, the couple had married over ten years ago and had been living in Chiang Mai City for most of the time before moving to a rented house in the quiet subdistrict of Chiang Dao about one year ago.

Pol Lt Col Banawut suspects that Mr Klutz has died of heart failure triggered by the overdose. However, the official cause of death will be determined by pathologists at Chiang Dao Hospital, he added.

Case Details

Source Chiang Mai News
Date of Death: August 3, 2017
Last Edited: 2 weeks ago
Age: 58 years
Gender: Male
Nationality: Swiss
Cause of Death: Overdose
Province: Chiang Mai
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