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An Assessment of the Usefulness of Routine Histological Examination in Hanging Deaths

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Abstract:

Abstract:  A retrospective study was carried out on 100 randomly selected medico‐legal autopsies of victims who had committed suicide by hanging. All cases had undergone full police and coronial investigation. Complete external and internal examinations had been carried out including routine histological examination of organs. The age range of victims was 15–94 years (average, 41.7 years) with a male‐to‐female ratio of 7:1. External and internal injuries were consistent with the reported events. Diagnoses based purely on histology included hepatic steatosis (n = 16), asthma (n = 3), lymphocytic thyroiditis (n = 2), and pulmonary and cardiac sarcoidosis (n = 1). A large cell carcinoma of the lung and a rectal adenocarcinoma were confirmed. Histological evaluation was, however, of limited usefulness in contributing to the medico‐legal evaluation of cases, with careful scene, external and internal examinations providing the most relevant information. The results of histological examination of tissues were all incidental to the cause, mechanism, and manner of death.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1556-4029.2012.02104.x

Affiliations: Discipline of Anatomy and Pathology, The University of Adelaide, Frome Road, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia.

Publication date: July 1, 2012

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