Injury and violence is a growing public health problem in Sri Lanka. We carried out this study to identify the mortality patterns caused by injury and violence using data extracted from medico-legal autopsy registries at Institute of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology (IFMT), Colombo Sri Lanka from July 2013 to December 2016. Circumstances of death and external cause of death data were collected excluding deaths due to natural causes, cases where the cause of death was still under investigation and uncategorized. We analyzed extracted data using Microsoft excel.
During study period, 4530 autopsies were performed and 2410 (53.2%) of them were performed on deaths due to injuries and violence. Over the three years number of violence and injury deaths increased (621 in 2014, 705 in 2015, and 782 in 2016). Of 2410 deaths, 1923 (79.8%) deaths were due to unintentional injuries, 320 (13.3%) were due to suicides, and 167 (6.9%) deaths were due to homicides. Out of 1923 unintentional injury fatalities, 1361 (70.8%) were caused by road traffic crashes, 240 (12.5%) was due to falls, 107 (5.6%) by railroad crashes and 78 (4.0%) deaths due to drowning. Of 167 homicides, 76.6% were assaults (acid attacks and assaults by blunt and sharp weapons) and 15% were firearm homicides. Out of 320 suicides, 40% were deaths due to hanging which was the commonest mode of committing suicide.
Substantial number of deaths due to injuries and violence were reported to IFMT between years 2013 and 2016 and and the numbers increased over the years. Majority of the fetal injury deaths were due to road traffic crashes. Deaths due to suicides were high. In order to reduce the number of deaths due to injury and violence, appropriate preventive measures should be developed and implemented. Further studies are necessary to identify the risk factors leading to the increase in fatality rates.
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