Background Deaths due to injuries and violence are on the rise in Sri Lanka. However, only few statistical analysis have been carried out so far to understand the causes for those deaths. This lacuna is a major setback for prevention of violence and injury deaths in Sri Lanka. Therefore, we conducted this study to identify the reasons that contributed to the injuries and violence related deaths in Colombo, Sri Lanka in 2014, using the autopsy reports of the Institute of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology (IFMT), Colombo.
Methods We extracted data of the injury and violence deaths from the autopsy register of the IFMT for the year 2014. Circumstances and external causes of deaths, age and sex were recorded. We analysed the extracted data using Microsoft Excel.
Results In year 2014, 1122 autopsies were carried out in the IFMT and 55.3% of the deaths were due to injuries and violence (N = 621). Majority of the injury and violence death were due to unintentional injuries (80.5%). Out of those 500 deaths due to unintentional injuries and majority (68.2%) of them were due to road traffic crashes (RTC) excluding railway crashes (n = 24). Of all those 346 road traffic deaths, 83.8% were male; majority (22.8%) were between 50–59 years old. Almost half of the RTC victims were pedestrians, while another one third were motorcyclists. The other common causes of unintentional injuries that led to deaths were falls (12.0%), and drowning (6.0%). Among injury and violence deaths suicides were 12.4% and assaults were 7.1%. Main mode of committing suicides was hanging. For homicides, it was, assaults with sharp weapons.
Conclusions Injuries and violence are major reasons for deaths that are reported for medico-legal examination in Colombo, Sri Lanka. RTCs contribute to a significant number of injury deaths. Because injuries and violence are preventable with appropriate measures such as strict legal provisions, community awareness, etc. policy makers should introduce appropriate policies to prevent these deaths.
- violence and injuries
- autopsy reports
- Sri Lanka
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