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A Journal on Forensic Medicine
Minerva Medicolegale 2009 March;129(1):1-7
Falls from height: analysis of 150 cases come under observation in the Municipal Mortuary of Turin during the years 2001-2005
Massimelli M., Curto O.
Dipartimento di Anatomia, Farmacologia e Medicina Legale Università degli Studi di Torino Torino, Italia
Aim. Falls from height are a very frequent type of great traumatism, particularly for the sake of suicide. In some cases falls happen accidentally, and only exceptionally they can be classified as murders. The aim of the present study is to verify the results previously stated in scientific literature, with regard to various aspects related to cases of falls from height (e.g. gender and age-related incidence, localization of anatomical lesions).
Methods. This study analysed 150 cases of fatal falls from height which came under observation in the municipal mortuary of Turin during the years 2001-2005. Both the reports of the on-the-spot investigations and, when available, autopsies were taken in consideration.
Results. The results of the present study are substantially consistent with those of the literature, particularly as regards the frequent suicidal aim of falls from height and their greater incidence among elderly people and patients with psychiatric diseases.
Conclusion. In relation to gender, however, the same incidence of suicidal falls from height was found among males and females, in contrast with a greater incidence among females stated by scientific literature. As far as the localization of anatomical lesions is concerned, a greater incidence of thoracic lesions in suicidal falls from height was found, while in all accidental fall cases, though very rare, corpses showed cranial lesions.