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Type: Journal article
Title: Temporal trends over the past two decades in asphyxial deaths in South Australia involving plastic bags or wrapping
Author: Byard, R.
Simpson, E.
Gilbert, J.
Citation: Journal of Clinical Forensic and Legal Medicine: an international journal of forensic and legal medicine, 2006; 13(1):9-14
Publisher: Churchill Livingstone
Issue Date: 2006
ISSN: 1353-1131
Statement of
Roger W. Byard, Ellie Simpson and John D. Gilbert
Abstract: Asphyxial deaths utilising plastic bags or wrappings occurring over a 20-year period from March 1984 to February 2004 were reviewed at Forensic Science SA, Australia. A total of 45 cases were identified, with three occurring in infants and children (one accidental asphyxia; two homicides). Of the remaining 42 adults the male to female ratio was approximately 1:1 (23 and 19 cases, respectively), with all deaths attributed to suicide. The 42 adult cases represented 1.2% of the 3569 suicides autopsied at the centre over the time period of the study. The age ranges of the adult victims were 19–88 years (mean = 47.1 years) for the males, and 32–89 years (mean = 60.5 years) for the females. The adult female victims were significantly older than the males (p < 0.001). A number of victims had histories of depression and had taken prescription medications. A significant difference was found in the temporal occurrence of the adult deaths, with six cases occurring between 1984 and 1989, nine between 1989 and 1994, 11 between 1994 and 1999, and 16 between 1999 and 2004 (p < 0.001). Plastic bag asphyxial deaths were rare and in adults were due to suicide involving either older females or younger males. A significant increase in cases in South Australia in recent years was demonstrated, possibly related to publicity surrounding assisted suicides, and the ready availability of suicide manuals and information on suicide techniques from the internet.
Keywords: Humans
Age Factors
Sex Factors
Aged, 80 and over
Middle Aged
South Australia
Rights: Copyright © 2005 Elsevier Ltd and AFP All rights reserved.
DOI: 10.1016/j.jcfm.2005.05.005
Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest 2
Pathology publications

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