Keywords : sharp wounds

Medico-Legal Study of Fatal Stab Wounds in Baghdad

Muataz A. Al- Qazzaz

Iraqi Postgraduate Medical Journal, 2013, Volume 12, Issue 1, Pages 104-110

Even with the advent of more modern injury types,sharp force injuries and fatalities have been reported to be the most common crimes of violence in several countries, predominantly in those where access to firearms is restricted.Death due to sharp force violence is the most common cause of homicidal deaths in Sweden and in many other countries in Europe, Africa and Asia.
1-To estimate the percentage of sharp wound fatalities from the total number of all injuries referred to the medico-legal institute and the percentage of fatal stab wounds type.
2-To study the stab wounds according to age, sex, scene of injury, number, edge type, length and depth of each wound ,presence of other wound types, anatomical regions affected and organs injured
A medico-legal descriptive study conducted on 41 autopsies during 6 months period .
Cases were studied according to their age, sex, scene of incident , number and type of stab wounds , presence of other types of wounds , suggestive manner of injury , anatomical regions affected and organs injured . Blood sample was taken for alcohol detection then complete classical autopsy was done .
Sharp force injuries were occupying the 8th class of major injuries. Males were 3 times than females . The mean age was 33.4±13.8 years. Indoor and outdoor scenes of incident were almost equal in number with few unknown scenes. Most of victims were with stab wounds type only having single sharp edge wound. Homicidal manner of death was seen in all cases while defense stab wounds were seen in only 7 cases.
The mean length of all stab wounds in all cases was 2.98 + 0.64 cm ranging from 0.5 cm to 8 cm and the mean depth of stab wounds was 9.75+ 4.07 cm. ranging from 1 to 20 cm. Chest was the commonest anatomical region affected and the heart was the commonest organ injured . Alcohol had no role in causation of stab wounds in this study.
Stab wounds are uncommon in Baghdad. Adult males were usually the victims. Homicidal manner was the only manner of death . Knives were the usual weapon used.
It was difficult to determine the exact dimensions of the weapons in most cases because of variability of wounds measurements. Anatomical regions and organs injured revealed their homicidal manner.