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Metal Railing Fences and Accidental Death

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Two cases of accidental deaths caused by the sharp ends of fence or gate posts are reported. Case 1: A 47‐year‐old man was found hanging by his ankle in an inverted position on fencing. He had attempted a shortcut to a railway platform by climbing over a metal rail fence. He had slipped and been impaled through his ankle by the sharp end of the fence post, resulting in death from positional asphyxia. Case 2: An 18‐year‐old male slipped while climbing over a gate and died after being impaled on a spear tip finial, which had lacerated his external iliac vein. Death was due to exsanguination. These cases demonstrate two rare examples of accidental deaths from impalement by the ends of sharp fence posts. Mechanisms of death in such circumstances involve suspension with positional asphyxia and vascular injury with exsanguination.
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Keywords: exsanguination; fence post; finial; forensic science; impalement; positional asphyxia; suspension

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2018

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