<- Home <- Arhive <- Vol. 22, Issue 1, March 2014

Rom J Leg Med22(1)1-4(2014)
© Romanian Society of Legal Medicine

Dismemberment by a tamping machine: An unusual case of work-related accidental decapitation

E. Maselli, A. Dell’Erba, A. Lobifaro, L. Tattoli, B. Solarino

Abstract: We report the case of a 45-year-old railway worker who was literally decapitated during a work shift. He was working with his colleagues close to a Ballast Cleaning Machine (BCM) behind the driver. This case occurred during the night time, under artificial light that probably allowed this traumatic event. The workplace investigation revealed the victim's head and the right arm were detached from the remains of the body. Probably the cutter bar of the BCM caught his jacket and trapped him in the right arm of the machinery, cutting off his head. The external examination of the body and the following medico-legal autopsy showed excoriated streaks and de-epithelialization area on all over the body, fractures and laceration of the cervical region and of the right arm. Toxicological analyses were negative for alcohol or drug abuse. To the best of our knowledge, no other similar cases have been reported in the international literature
Keywords: occupational accident, decapitation, ballast cleaning machine.

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