Sharp Force Trauma

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The determination of the manner of death is an important part of the forensic autopsy practice. Five classifications of manner are generally accepted for a person's death. The classifications include accidental, suicide, homicide, undetermined, and unclassified (Davis, 1997). In order to determine these manners of death, causation needs to be disclosed. According to (who), "every contact leaves a trace" (citation). Therefore, preservation of a corpse is prioritized because it can serve as an evidence of crime (Domanska, 2005). Examples of evidence can be any external injuries caused by sharp edged weapons, also known as a sharp force trauma. Studies have been conducted by researchers to identify relevant parameters that could help differentiate…show more content…
Sharp force trauma injuries are "wounds inflicted by cutting or stabbing with a sharp tool (knife), weapon (bayonet) or sharp piece of equipment" (Karlsson, 1998). The three major types of sharp force injury are stab wounds, incised wounds, and chop wounds. (website reference). A traditional examination techniques for detecting a stab wound direction comprised of layer-by-layer dissection of the surrounding tissue. However, the method was time-consuming and inefficient as it harms intact structures, therefore complicating the differentiation between perimortal and post-mortal injury. Inserting a probe into the wound was as well regarded as a risky method as it might displace potentially crucial traces into the wound depth. In the early seventies, with the advancement of computed tomography (CT) by Hounsfield and Cormack, "post-mortem radiology has grown from a simple autopsy-assisting X-ray to a veritable forensic field of its own". The invention and implementation of multislice computed tomographs (MSCT) have become part of everyday clinical practice and have been respected for its promising results, also regarding sharp force trauma (Schnider et al.,…show more content…
Cases were selected among all forensic autopsies performed at the Department of Forensic Medicine and pathology at the Raymond Poincare Hospital (Garches, France). In each case, the anatomical sites were classified into 4 regions: region 1, head, nape of the neck, back, limbs, hands; region 2, anterior parts of neck, thorax and abdomen; region 3, anterior part of forearms; and region 4 (combination of regions 2 and 3). Then, suicide victims were compared with homicide victims with respect to stab wounds located in different anatomical sites of a body. Of the homicide victims, wounds were predominantly found in anatomical region 1 or region 1+2. Meanwhile, a significantly higher number of wounds were found by suicide victims in anatomical regions 3 or 4. Despite a low disparity, wounds located in anatomical region 2 were likely to be observed by suicide victims. Meanwhile, another study was carried out by Scolan, Telmon, Blanc, Allery, Charlet, & Rouge to identify number of stab wounds to determine whether a death is a homicide or a suicide (2004). A total of 70 cases of homicide and suicide was obtained from "autopsy reports, reports of examination of bodies and police investigations and any available toxicology analyses" (Scolan et al., (2004). According to Scolan et al. (2004),

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