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Child victims in medico-legal autopsy


IDG Kitulwatte ,

University of Kelaniya, LK
About IDG
Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
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PAS Edirisinghe,

University of Kelaniya, LK
About PAS
Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
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T Ratnayake

University of Kelaniya, LK
About T
Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
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Introduction : Death of a child, particularly a sudden death is an essentially a tragic experience for parents, caregivers and the general public. Medico-legal autopsy is an important solution in many unanswered questions that arises after death. Accurate information about childhood deaths is obligatory to improve child survival.

Objective: The aim of the study was to determine the distribution and pattern of various causes of death among the medico-legal autopsy population and to assess the areas where interventional and preventive strategies can be taken place.

Study Design: Retrospective descriptive study was done based on reports of post mortems performed on children during past 3 years. The information was gathered on a proforma to fulfill the objectives. The data was analyzed using SPSS statistical package.

Results: Majority of children were of the age group of less than 1 year (40%). 49% of the circumstances were unnatural while accidents amount to 39%. Most frequent mechanism of death was asphyxia (31%). Almost 53% of them were caused by mechanical asphyxia due to drowning. There was a significant difference in circumstances of death in infants, children between 1-10 years and those aged over 11 years. Death due to natural conditions was predominant among infants (75%), while 58% of the children aged between 1-10 years died of accidental causes. 56% of children over 11 years died of accidental causes while 16% found to be suicides. 54% incidents of unnatural deaths had taken place at home.

Conclusion: Accidental deaths were common among children older than 1year of age while drowning was identified as the leading unnatural cause of death which can be prevented easily. It is high time we consider some precautions and regulations to protect children against accidents, injuries and hazards.


Medico-Legal Journal of Sri Lanka 2011; 1(1), Jan-April : 27-33

How to Cite: Kitulwatte, I., Edirisinghe, P. and Ratnayake, T., 2014. Child victims in medico-legal autopsy. Medico-Legal Journal of Sri Lanka, 1(1), pp.27–33. DOI:
Published on 08 Aug 2014.
Peer Reviewed


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