<- Home <- Arhive <- Vol. 27, Issue 2, June 2019

Rom J Leg Med27(2)109-114(2019)
© Romanian Society of Legal Medicine

An autopsy-based study of fatal ground-level falls in East Attica, Greece (2011-2015)

M. Tsellou, K. Moraitis, D. Vlachodimitropoulos, I. Papoutsis, C. Spiliopoulou, S. Papadodima

Abstract: Introduction. Ground-level falls have emerged as one of the major causes of unintentional fatal injury in several developed countries. As older age is accompanied by deterioration on various systems and abilities of the human body, the elderly are known to be particularly vulnerable to fatal ground-level falls.Methods. Forty-three cases of fatal accidental ground-level falls, which occurred in the region of East Attica, were assigned to our Department during the years 2011-2015. Epidemiological data of the victims, the circumstances of the falls and the type/characteristics of the injuries were recorded.Results. Forty-three cases of fatal ground-level falls involving 24 male victims (55.8%) and 19 female victims (44.2%). Their ages ranged between 45 and 96 years old with the vast majority (38 cases-88.4%) of the victims being >65 years old. Almost half of the fatal ground-level fall cases (21 cases) took place inside or near the victims’ residence, 11 occurred in public places, 1 in another residence, 1 in the victim’s workplace and in 6 cases the place of the fall was unknown. Twenty-two of the fallers (57.9%) died within the first 24h after the fall while the rest died 2-45 days post-injury. Fatal injuries involved mainly the head with (14 cases) or without (15 cases) cranial bone fracture. In some cases, head trauma was accompanied with severe neck (3 cases), thoracolumbar spine (1 case) or pelvic (1 case) trauma. Notably, 5 people died due to post-traumatic complications during their hospitalization. Conclusion. Elderly people seem to be prone to fatal accidental ground-level falls occurring mostly inside their residence or in the surroundings. Head and neck are highlighted as the main body regions seriously injured after a ground-level fall
Keywords: legal medicine, elderly, ground-level falls, geriatric falls

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