Postmortem Findings from Suicide Hanging Dead Bodies

Charoonsak Nualchaem

Abstract


Abstract

Postmortem Findings from Suicide Hanging Dead Bodies

Charoonsak          Nualchaem            MD, LLB

Department of Forensic Medicine, BMA Medical College and Vajira Hospital

Objectives: To study postmortem findings from the dead bodies from suicide hanging and possible predisposing factors.

Study design: Descriptive study.

Subjects: Sixty seven dead bodies from suicide hanging who had postmortem examination at BMA Medical College and Vajira Hospital between 1991-2009.

Methods: The record from the Department of Forensic Medicine, BMA Medical College and Vajira Hospital from 1991-2009 were searched and identified 67 unnatural death caused by suicide hanging who were examined in accordance to Penal Code. Data from the records were retrieved and analyzed.

Main outcome measures: Pathologic findings from the dead bodies from suicide hanging.

Results: Suicide hanging was commonly found in male (65.7%) than female. The most common age group was 21-30 years old (31.3%). History of heavy or occasional alcoholic consumption was identified in 23.9% and 41.8%, respectively. The main motivation was psychological or mental illness (23.9%). Most of the victims had a history of mentioning committing suicide (55.2%) or had previously attempted to commit suicide (26.9%). The events were taken place most commonly in their own houses (88.1%). The more common postures of the dead bodies were feet above (38.8%) or toe-tips touching the ground (37.3%). Common pathologic findings were cyanosis of the lips (71.6%) and finger' or toe' nails (71.6%), petechial hemorrhage of the sclera and eyelids (37.3%), and tongue protusion (16.4%). Fracture of hyoid bone was found in 10.4% while transverse tear of the common carotid artery intima was found in 3.0%. About 23.9% of the victims had positive serum alcohol.

Conclusion: Suicide hanging was commonly found in male than female with ages of 21-30 years as the most common. The main motivation was psychological and mental illness. Fracture of hyoid bone and transverse tear of common carotid artery intima were rare.

Key words: suicide hanging, predisposing factors, postmortem, fracture of hyoid bone, transverse tear of carotid artery intima

 

Vajira Med J 2009 ; 54 : 41 - 51


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