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Research Articles

Deliberate self-harm among patients presenting to teaching hospital – Karapitiya, Sri Lanka - a retrospective, descriptive study

Authors:

R. H. A. I. Rathnaweera ,

Faculty of Medicine, Karapitiya, Galle, LK
About R. H. A. I.
Department of Forensic Medicine
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E. G. U. N. Gunarathna

Teaching Hospital, Karapitiya, Galle, LK
About E. G. U. N.
JMO’s Office
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Abstract

Introduction: Deliberate self-harm is defined as an injury inflicted on oneself without suicidal intent. Relatively few studies have been carried out in Sri Lanka on this aspect; therefore, reliable statistics are lacking.

 

Objective: To identify epidemiological and socio-economic factors and medico-legal aspects of injuries of due to deliberate self-harm in patients presenting to the Teaching hospital, Karapitiya.

 

Materials and Methods: All medicolegal records of patients examined by the authors with deliberate self-harm admitted to the Teaching hospital, Karapitiya from 1st of January 2010 to 31st of December 2014, were retrospectively analyzed.

 

Results: There were 47 patients. Eighty two percent were male. Majority (60%) were between 16 – 25 years. Sixty-one percent of them were married and 51% were unemployed. Only 12% had studied beyond G.C.E. Ordinary level. Most cases were reported during the period April to June. Twenty-two (46%) males had consumed alcohol at the time of the incident. Sixty-four percent had committed the act to gain sympathy or recognition.

 

Superficial cuts and scratches were the most common type of injury (81%). The non-dominant upper extremities (75%) were the most common sites of injury. The commonest method used by males was cutting with sharp instruments whereas for females, it was pricking with needles and pins. Eighty-three percent had non grievous injuries. Sparing of clothes were present in 94%. Twenty-eight percent of patients had a history of similar previous attempts.

 

Conclusions: Injuries due to deliberate self-harm is a considerable public health problem which can cause significant harm especially among young males. Low level of education, unemployment and substance abuse were among the associated risk factors identified in this study. Young males were the most vulnerable group and they should be targeted when considering preventive measures.
How to Cite: Rathnaweera, R.H.A.I. and Gunarathna, E.G.U.N., 2020. Deliberate self-harm among patients presenting to teaching hospital – Karapitiya, Sri Lanka - a retrospective, descriptive study. Sri Lanka Journal of Forensic Medicine, Science & Law, 11(2), pp.17–25. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljfmsl.v11i2.7858
Published on 17 Dec 2020.
Peer Reviewed

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