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Study on elderly victims dying of unnatural causes


Indira Deepthi Kitulwatte ,

University of Kelaniya Western, LK
About Indira
I.D.G.Kitulwatte (MBBS, DLM, MD (Forensic Medicine) Professor in Forensic Medicine, Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya, Ragama, Sri Lanka
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Sanka Paranavithana,

University of Kelaniya Western, LK
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Budyangi Perera,

University of Kelaniya Western, LK
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Anuruddhi Edirisinghe

University of Kelaniya Western, LK
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Introduction Life expectancy among the elderly has been improving for many decades worldwide and there is evidence that health among the elderly is also improving. However, health hazards following unnatural causes among them show a considerable medical and social significance. Objectives We planned to determine the causes and epidemiological aspects of unnatural deaths in the elderly. Methodology Retrospective descriptive study based on hospital records and post mortem reports of the elderly (above 60 years of age) during a period of 03 years reported to a tertiary care hospital of Sri Lanka. The historical details, scene findings, autopsy findings, investigations, opinion and conclusions given were obtained to fill the pro-forma. Results Out of the 92 unnatural deaths, there were 55 (60%) males and 37 (40%) females. Majority 24 (26%) were of the age group of 65 to 69. 63 (68%) were due to accidents while there were 21 (23%) suicides and 5 (5%) homicides. 50 (79%) out of the 63 accidental deaths were due to road accidents while there were3 (5%) due to falls from a height. Majority 37(74%) of the victims of road accidents were pedestrians. Out of the 21 suicides majority 8(38%) were due to poisoning while there were 6(29%) due to hanging. Cause of death in a majority 60 (65%) was blunt force trauma. Past medical history of a chronic disease was present in 51 (55%). However contribution of the natural pathology to the cause of death was identified only among 8 (9%). Conclusions Accidental deaths, especially road accidents, predominate as the circumstance of death among elderly. Interventions to prevent such accidents by effective application of road rules and by ensuring safe and supervised transportation, especially for older pedestrians, is essential.
How to Cite: Kitulwatte, I.D., Paranavithana, S., Perera, B. and Edirisinghe, A., 2018. Study on elderly victims dying of unnatural causes. Sri Lanka Journal of Forensic Medicine, Science & Law, 9(1), p.None. DOI:
Published on 25 Jul 2018.
Peer Reviewed


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