eISSN: 1689-1716
ISSN: 0324-8267
Archiwum Medycyny Sądowej i Kryminologii/Archives of Forensic Medicine and Criminology
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vol. 66
Original paper

Analysis of the nature of injuries in victims of fall from height

Magdalena E. Kusior
Katarzyna Pejka
Michał Knapik
Nadja Sajuk
Szymon Kłaptocz
Tomasz Konopka

Arch Med Sąd Kryminol 2016; 66 (2): 106-124
Online publish date: 2017/01/04
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Aim of study:
To assess the types and extent of injuries sustained by victims of fall from height depending on the height of fall.

Material and methods:
The study included 338 bodies of victims of fatal falls from different heights (from the 1st to 10th floors) who were subjected to medico-legal autopsy at the Department of Forensic Medicine, Jagiellonian University Medical College, between 1995 and 2014. For each individual, selected data were collected including gender, age, body height, injury types and presence of alcohol or other intoxicants in blood. The analysis comprised injuries to the brain, thoracic and abdominal organs, fractures of the skull, extremities, ribs and spine, and fractures of the scapula, clavicle and sternum (considered together). The study focused on determining the frequency of occurrence of different injuries in relation to one another and depending on the height of fall.

The number and extent of injuries was found to increase along with the height of fall. Three injury types, including injuries to the mesentery and both kidneys and fractures of upper extremity small bones, were shown to occur from the threshold heights of the 3rd, 4th and 6th floors. Eleven injuries demonstrated a statistically significant correlation with the height of fall. The study also revealed a number of correlations between the frequencies of occurrence of different injuries.

Injuries found from the threshold value may suggest the minimal height of fall. The presence of injuries which correlate with increasing height, and the overall number of injuries observed in victims of fall from height, may be useful for inferring the height of the fall.


suicide, polytrauma, fall from the height

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