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Deaths following trivial trauma

Author:

R. H. A. I. Rathnaweera

Faculty of Medicine, Karapitiya, Galle, LK
About R. H. A. I.
Department of Forensic Medicine
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Abstract

Introduction:

It is often an assessment of the circumstances, in addition to the autopsy findings, which decides a court’s attitude to the relationship of trauma to disease.

Case report 1

Sixty year old male, was assaulted by his son with clubs. Later he was found unconscious and on admission to hospital, he was found to be dead.

Autopsy findings:

There were non-fatal blunt force injuries. Coronary arteries were occluded in significant percentages and myocardial fibrosis was noted.

Histopathology revealed patchy fibrosis of the myocardium.

Case report 2

Fifty four year old male was assaulted by a group of people and on the following day he was found unconscious on the ground. On admission to the hospital, he was found to be dead.

Autopsy findings:

Non-fatal blunt force injuries were present. His coronary arteries were occluded in significant percentages and myocardial fibrosis was noted.

Histopathology revealed patchy fibrosis of the myocardium.

Case report 3

Forty five year old male was assaulted by his neighbor and developed tightening type of chest pain. At the hospital, he was found to have developed a myocardial infarction. He died two days later.

Autopsy findings:

No external injuries were present. Right coronary artery was 100% occluded with a thrombus.

Histopathology revealed acute myocardial infarction.

Conclusions

Although the forensic pathologist plays an important role in finding the cause of death following trivial trauma, the contribution in determining the manner can be limited especially those due to sudden cardiac death. Decision on culpability of the assailant is based on mens rea or the guilty mind which is the mental element of the offence. The mere simple non grievous nature of these injures does not necessarily mean that assailants were not having an intention of causing death.


Medico-Legal Journal of Sri Lanka 2015; 3(1) : 25-28

How to Cite: Rathnaweera, R.H.A.I., (2016). Deaths following trivial trauma. Medico-Legal Journal of Sri Lanka. 3(1), pp.25–28. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/mljsl.v3i1.7320
Published on 15 Jan 2016.
Peer Reviewed

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