Socio-Epidemiological Variables and Medicolegal Considerations in Freshwater Drowning Deaths: A Decadal Autopsy Study (2006-2015)
Keywords:drowning, submersion, accidental, canals, time since death
Drowning is significant public health problem commonly affecting the most productive age groups. The
decadal retrospective study presents detailed analysis of socio-epidemiological characteristics of 120 victims
of drowning death and stresses upon prevention of such deaths. It also undertakes medicolegal analysis of
drowning deaths with regard to identity, manner and time since death.
Drowning deaths comprised nearly 30% of violent asphyxial deaths, following hanging (50.37%). Overall,
the most affected ages were third and fourth decade of life accounting for 46.7% cases. Young adults in their
second decade of life were commonest victims of accidental drowning. Suicidal deaths were more frequent
among females. Canal water was the most common source of fatal drowning in 62% cases, followed by
ponds, river and drains.
Significantly 28.3% victims of drowning were unidentified and in about 2/3rd of these cases time since
death exceeded 3 days. Among 82 victims with known manner of death, accidental deaths accounted for
79.3% cases; suicides for 18.3% cases and 2.4% were homicidal cases. Minor injuries were observed in
16.6% cases, none contributing to the cause of death.
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