A prospective cross-sectional study on the cases in a tertiary care hospital about the patterns of head injury caused by falling from heights

Original Article

Author Details : Yuhesh Somasundaram*, Amritha Sulthana, Shankar Subramanian, Manoharan Chellasamy

Volume : 8, Issue : 4, Year : 2021

Article Page : 232-236


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Background: One of the most common injuries and death in India are caused by falling from heights. Although a majority of these bereavements are accidental and are due to a slip from higher altitudes like multi storey buildings, trees, construction sites, etc., alcohol consumption also plays a vital role. In such occurrences of death due to falling from heights, head injury is a very common phenomenon and it complicates the investigation procedure for the investigators and the medico legal experts to arrive at a conclusion because these injuries impersonate the injuries sustained from other accident cases like a road accident per say. Due to the absence of eyewitness in most of these cases, a detailed analysis on the pattern and the nature of the injuries is required to arrive at a conclusion. These injuries sustained vary owing to the site of impact and the stature from where the victim had fallen and the critical answer to the medico legal queries lies in a detailed autopsy of the victim’s body and a thorough examination at the scene of occurrence. On the account of a comprehensive study insufficiency in Tamilnadu, a modest attempt was made to analyse the pattern of head injuries sustained on the victims of fall from different heights and is presented as a cross- sectional study.
Materials and Methods: The case study on the fatal incidents of fall from height was recorded and analysed statically in a sampling of one hundred cases which was subjected to detailed autopsy in a tertiary care hospital. In this analysis the nature and pattern of injuries, data regarding the nature of fall, the site of primary impact, period of survival and a detailed examination of head injuries were all noted. The statistical analysis was carried out using Microsoft Excel 2009.
Results: From the analysis, it is observed that the maximum number of fall from height cases seemed to be from the age group of 31 years ~40 years (30%) and males contributed to a majority of these cases (90%). Amongst head injury cases, 82% of the cases had intracranial haemorrhage and 10% had facial bone fractures. In the 82% of cases, 76% of cases had both subarachnoid haemorrhage and subdural haemorrhage. Also skull fracture was seen in 40% of the cases and the base of the skull fracture was noted almost equally in 37% of the cases. Injuries to head and cervical spine constituted to the salient features of primary head impacts, SAH alone is rare in such cases.
Conclusions: On the account of observation and analysis, it is noted that most of these cases were accidental in nature (93%) and Males (90%) in the age group of 31-40 years were in highest number (30%). Cranial injuries with subarachnoid and subdural haemorrhage seemed to be the most common cause of death amongst victims falling from heights. Also skull fracture were seen in 40% of the cases and base of skull fracture noted almost equally in 37% of the cases. While SAH alone in rare in these cases, injuries to head and cervical spine were the key impacts of primary head impacts.

Keywords: Fall from height, Site of impact, Pattern of injuries, Head injuries.

How to cite : Somasundaram Y, Sulthana A, Subramanian S, Chellasamy M, A prospective cross-sectional study on the cases in a tertiary care hospital about the patterns of head injury caused by falling from heights. Indian J Forensic Community Med 2021;8(4):232-236

Copyright © 2021 by author(s) and Indian J Forensic Community Med. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (creativecommons.org)

Article History

Received : 23-07-2021

Accepted : 16-09-2021

Available online : 20-12-2021

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