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Research Articles

Deaths following drowning in Sri Lanka - a retrospective study

Authors:

P. Paranitharan ,

University of Kelaniya, LK
About P.
Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
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W. N. S. Perera,

University of Kelaniya, LK
About W. N. S.
Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
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S. Lakmal,

University of Kelaniya, LK
About S.
Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
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D. C. Priyanath,

University of Kelaniya, LK
About D. C.
Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
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T. A. A. W. Senanayake,

University of Kelaniya, LK
About T. A. A. W.
Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
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M. K. J. K. Kumari

University of Kelaniya, LK
About M. K. J. K.
Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
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Abstract

Introduction: Deaths following drowning are a common occurrence in Sri Lanka. Individuals drown in different circumstances like suicides, accidents and homicides. A study of this nature would be useful for prevention of such incidences and as a baseline for future studies.

 

Objectives: With regard to victims of drowning to determine; the demographic profile, circumstances, autopsy findings and contributory factors for drowning.

 

Methodology: Information was extracted from records of 59 drowning cases in the years 2008-2017. Data were analysed using the statistical package SPSS Version 22.

 

Results: Majority of deaths (37.3%) were within the age of 11-30 years. Twenty-six-point five percent (26.5%) of accidental deaths were within the age group 11-20 years. The circumstances were accident (57.6%), suicide (22 %) and not known whether accident or suicide (20.3%). The common places of accidental drowning were sea (20%), Tank (20%) and canal (18 %.) The well was the most common place for suicides (54%). Majority of victims were unemployed (37%) and labourers (25%). Froth in the nostrils (54.2%), Emphysematous expanded lungs (63%), rib indentation on the lungs (61%) froth in the airways (61%) and pulmonary oedema (66%) were observations which were suggestive of drowning.

 

Environmental factors (41%) and alcohol consumption (20%) are among the possible contributory factors.

 

Conclusion: Majority of the deaths are accidental. Environmental factors and alcohol consumption may play contributory roles. Awareness programmes targeting young adults will minimize accidental deaths.
How to Cite: Paranitharan, P., Perera, W.N.S., Lakmal, S., Priyanath, D.C., Senanayake, T.A.A.W. and Kumari, M.K.J.K., 2020. Deaths following drowning in Sri Lanka - a retrospective study. Sri Lanka Journal of Forensic Medicine, Science & Law, 11(2), pp.1–8. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljfmsl.v11i2.7857
Published on 17 Dec 2020.
Peer Reviewed

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