Author(s): Sharma BR, Harish D, Sharma V, Vij K
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Abstract Injuries and fatalities occur in all forms of transportation, but numerically, road-traffic accidents account for the great majority worldwide. There is little that the autopsy surgeon can contribute to the elucidation of factors leading to the accident as it is largely the circumstantial and forensic laboratory evidence which is likely to reveal a non-accidental cause. However, the doctor's role in detecting the compatibility/incompatibility of the injuries with those usually sustained in traffic accidents (to detect any which are 'atypical', e.g. focal depressed fracture of the skull), distinguishing antemortem from postmortem injuries, demonstrating the presence of any disease capable of creating sudden incapacity and analysing samples for alcohol/drugs, etc., can go a long way in assigning roles to the human and to some extent vehicular and environmental factors. This warrants that a meticulous autopsy be conducted and not merely a catalogue of injuries. It must be appreciated that a fatal accident is likely to result in litigation and the extent of litigation cannot be anticipated at the time of the autopsy. One must, therefore, aim at the close study of any accident victim and a careful assessment of the case is always rewarding. The present study was undertaken in the Department of Forensic Medicine at (a) Government Medical College, Jammu (1991-93), (b) Mulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi (1993-95) and (c) Government Medical College, Chandigarh (1994-June 2000), with the object of doing a comparative analysis of the various aspects of the road-traffic accidents and accidental deaths in three topographically and demographically different cities in India and to suggest remedial measures to bring down the accident rate.
This article was published in Med Sci Law
and referenced in Emergency Medicine: Open Access