Thermal fatalities in Pretoria : a 5-year retrospective review

Show simple item record Morobadi, Kenalemang Blumenthal, Ryan Saayman, Gert 2020-02-07T09:46:06Z 2019-11
dc.description.abstract In South Africa, research on burn mortality has emanated primarily from specialised burn centres and has focused on specific age groups and hospital-based fatalities. This study describes the demographic profile and the pathology of trauma related to burn fatalities as seen at the Pretoria Medico-Legal Laboratory (PTA MLL), a large urban medico-legal mortuary over a 5-year period from January 2011 to December 2015. Mortuary admission records and autopsy reports were used to gather information on demographics, circumstances of injury, apparent manner and cause of death, pathology of burns, toxicology and histology reports and identification of the decedents. RESULTS : Of the 9558 unnatural deaths admitted to the PTA MLL during this time period, 291 (3.0%) of the fatalities met the inclusion criteria. The male:female ratio was 2.9:1. Most fatalities occurred between the ages of 0–4 years. One hundred and forty-two (142) decedents were charred beyond recognition. Identification was confirmed in 134 (94.4%) of the charred remains. In 208 (69.8%) of the cases the manner of death was deemed to be accidental, 23 (7.9%) were homicidal and 11 (3.8%) were suicides. Two hundred and fifty-five (87.4%) of the fatalities were as a result of open flames/fires. Shack fires were responsible for 105 (36%) of all fatalities. In 32 (11.0%) cases of open flame/fire fatalities where death occurred at the scene of injury, more than one fatality was reported per incident. In 122 (79.2%) of scene fatalities, soot deposition was noted in the upper and lower airways. Forty-five (32.8%) of hospital fatalities occurred within 24 h of admission. The most common complications in hospital fatalities were from the respiratory system. The mean blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) was 0.09 g/100 ml. The mean carboxyhaemoglobin concentrations (COHb) was 19.9%. All available cyanide results were negative. CONCLUSION : The study is the first of its kind in South Africa to generate bimodal descriptive statistics for burn fatalities. Approximately 3% of unnatural deaths at the PTA-MLL were due to burns, occurring at a rate of ±1 death per week. The data provides a platform for funding, collaborative research, planning and development of public health programs. en_ZA
dc.description.department Forensic Medicine en_ZA
dc.description.embargo 2020-11-01
dc.description.librarian hj2020 en_ZA
dc.description.uri en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Morobadi, K., Blumenthal, R. & Saayman, G. 2019, 'Thermal fatalities in Pretoria : a 5-year retrospective review', Burns, vol. 45, no. 7, pp. 1707-1714. en_ZA
dc.identifier.issn 0305-4179 (print)
dc.identifier.issn 1879-1409 (online)
dc.identifier.other 10.1016/j.burns.2019.05.007
dc.language.iso en en_ZA
dc.publisher Elsevier en_ZA
dc.rights © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Notice : this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Burns. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. A definitive version was subsequently published in Burns, vol. 45, no. 7, pp. 1707-1714, 2019. doi : 10.1016/j.burns.2019.05.007. en_ZA
dc.subject Pretoria Medico-Legal Laboratory (PTA MLL) en_ZA
dc.subject South Africa (SA) en_ZA
dc.subject Low to middle income countries (LMIC) en_ZA
dc.subject High income countries (HIC) en_ZA
dc.subject Carboxyhaemoglobin (COHb) en_ZA
dc.subject Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) en_ZA
dc.subject Total body surface area (TBSA) en_ZA
dc.subject Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) en_ZA
dc.subject Acute kidney injury (AKI) en_ZA
dc.subject Burn fatalities en_ZA
dc.subject Pathology en_ZA
dc.subject Post mortem en_ZA
dc.subject Forensic en_ZA
dc.subject Autopsy en_ZA
dc.subject Demographics en_ZA
dc.title Thermal fatalities in Pretoria : a 5-year retrospective review en_ZA
dc.type Postprint Article en_ZA

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