Start Submission Become a Reviewer

Reading: The role of the medico-legal expert in the interpretation of airbag and seatbelt injuries: t...

Download

A- A+
Alt. Display

Case Reports & Picture story

The role of the medico-legal expert in the interpretation of airbag and seatbelt injuries: two case reports

Authors:

Haputhanthrige Dammika Wasanthi Ariyarathna ,

University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Nugegoda, LK
About Haputhanthrige Dammika Wasanthi
Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences
X close

Sanjaya Ravindra Hulathduwa

University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Nugegoda, LK
About Sanjaya Ravindra
Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences
X close

Abstract

Introduction

Road traffic trauma is a preventable cause of morbidity and mortality across the globe. A wide array of automotive safety measures have been implemented over several decades. They provide with active safety and passive safety. Seatbelts and supplementary restraint systems (SRS airbags) have undoubtedly been recognized as two important passive safety measures for vehicle occupants though they themselves may occasionally cause significant injuries in severe crashes. Injuries caused by inbuilt safety devices upon the occupants often come in atypical forms whose interpretation would be dubious unless carefully appreciated by forensic medical practitioner. This fact is elaborated with the following two case examples.

 

Case reports

The first case is regarding superficial burns on the face as a result of the deployment of airbags. The exact type, mechanism and the cause of the injuries were not recognized during the initial management. The second case is a diaphragmatic rupture which is extremely rare in healthy individuals with properly fastened seatbelts.

 

Conclusions

Injuries of both cases were properly interpreted at the clinical forensic examination. As correctly expected from a clinician he or she very justly pays more attention on the acute management, critical care and therapeutic aspects of such injuries rather than attempting to identify the exact type, mechanism of causation and other medico-legally significant issues. Yet, in the big picture outside the boundaries of providing critical care, including the implementation of preventive measures, precise identification and interpretation of such injuries become the vital obligation of the forensic medical expert.
How to Cite: Ariyarathna, H.D.W. and Hulathduwa, S.R., 2017. The role of the medico-legal expert in the interpretation of airbag and seatbelt injuries: two case reports. Medico-Legal Journal of Sri Lanka, 5(2), pp.17–21. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/mljsl.v5i2.7359
Published on 28 Dec 2017.
Peer Reviewed

Downloads

  • PDF (EN)

    comments powered by Disqus