Revista Cubana de Medicina General Integral
On-line version ISSN 1561-3038
BARREIRO RAMOS, Héctor; BARREIRO PENARANDA, Adriana; VIERA FERNANDEZ, Eugenio and MARRERO MARTIN, Ofelia. Burns and medicolegal etiology. Rev Cubana Med Gen Integr [online]. 2006, vol.22, n.4, pp. 0-0. ISSN 1561-3038.
Deaths caused by burns pose diverse problems to the police instruction and to the legist physician. One of these problems is to determine its medicolegal cause, that is, wether it is a homicide, suicide or accident, but for such a trascendental affirmation we only have the versions of the witness, without the scientific elements that may orientate us as it could be a somatic indicator or other type of indicator. In this case, we ask ourselves if there are variables helping us to find the medicolegal cause of death. The aim of this paper is to evaluate a group of variables as possible indicators of the medicolegal cause of the deaths caused by flames. The working universe was composed of 135 dead individuals received at the Provincial Center of Medicolegal Medicine of Havana from 1994 to 2003. 75 of them were included in the sample. The results show that 62 % of them were suicides; 32 %, accidents; and 5 %, homicides. It was observed a predominance of females.The average age for suicide was 70 years old, 45 for accidents, and 58 for homicide.The most frequent place was the house. The most common causal agent was alcohol, followed by kerosene. Alcohol was the most used in suicide, whereas kerosene caused the greatest number of deaths in accidents. Only alcohol was used in homicides. The percentages of burns revealed that the arithmetical mean in suicide is 70; in accidents, 45; and in homicide, 58. It is concluded that one indicator cannot confirm the medicolegal etiology of these deaths, but that them as a group can disclose with enough certainty the probable cause.
Keywords : Medicolegal cause; burns; suicide; homicide; accident; percentage; indicators.