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Impact of 100 days of COVID-19 lockdown on death patterns and mortality demographics of medico-legal autopsies done in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka

Authors:

S. Pranavan ,

Ministry of Health, Colombo, LK
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S. Raveendran,

Ministry of Health, Colombo, LK
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U. Mayorathan,

Ministry of Health, Colombo, LK
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B. M. Munasinghe,

Ministry of Health, Colombo, LK
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K. Vasutheva,

Ministry of Health, Colombo, LK
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Acting Consultant Forensic Pathologist Ministry of Health, Colombo, Sri Lanka
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N. Subramaniam

Ministry of Health, Colombo, LK
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Abstract

Introduction: Effect of COVID-19 pandemic on main sectors including the judicial and medico legal system has been notable in Sri Lanka.

 

Objective: To determine the impact of lockdowns during COVID-19 on death patterns and mortality demographics of medico-legal autopsies conducted in Northern Province of Sri Lanka during the first wave of COVID-19 (between 20th March to 28th June 2020) (Group C).

 

Methods: The data were compared between COVID-19 on death patterns and mortality demographics of medico-legal autopsies conducted in Northern Province of Sri Lanka during the first wave of COVID-19 (between 20th March to 28th June 2020) (Group C) and autopsies done in the same pre-COVID period in 2019 (Group PC). Three hundred and fifteen autopsies were selected after exclusion of unclaimed bodies, reports with inadequate details and undetermined cause and manner of deaths.

 

Results: Number of cases in groups C and PC were 126 and 189 respectively. Majority of the deceased were males in both groups (C-73% and PC-67%). The proportion of natural deaths was similar in both groups (39.7% vs 38.9%). Proportion of suicidal deaths was higher in C (32.5% vs 24%). The proportion of home deaths was more during the lockdown period (34.1% vs 25%). The proportion of homicidal and accidental deaths collectively was higher in PC (36.5% vs 28.6%). No statistical significance was observed for any of the given parameters between the two groups.

 

Conclusion: Despite the absence of statistical significance, the increased percentage of home deaths and suicidal deaths could be attributed to the effect of lock downs such as reduced access to routine health care services and financial and psychological strain on individuals and families.

 

Recommendations: The effect of a high suicide rate even though not statistically significant should be considered in future lockdowns. More extensive studies are required in Sri Lanka in this aspect which might statistically be more revealing.
How to Cite: Pranavan, S., Raveendran, S., Mayorathan, U., Munasinghe, B.M., Vasutheva, K. and Subramaniam, N., 2022. Impact of 100 days of COVID-19 lockdown on death patterns and mortality demographics of medico-legal autopsies done in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Journal of Forensic Medicine, Science & Law, 13(1), pp.21–28. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljfmsl.v13i1.7888
Published on 15 Jun 2022.
Peer Reviewed

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