Analysis of Suicide in Legal Autopsy During the Period of 1981-1984
법의부검 자살예의 분석(1981~1984)

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Lee, Jung Bin; Hwang, Juck Joon
Issue Date
Seoul National University College of Medicine
Seoul J Med 1985;26(4):325-330
SuicideLegal autopsyDeath structure
In order to evaluate the death structure of legal autopsy cases of SUicide, a total
of 291 cases of suicide out of 4,367 legal autopsies performed in the Department of Pathology,
the National Institute of Scientific Investigation during 1981-1984 were analyzed with
emphasis on the poisons used as suicidal measures.
The results obtained and conclusions drawn were as follows:
1. The male to female sex ratio in the legal autopsy cases of suicide was 1.53. As compared
with that of general suicide statistics, it is believed that the autopsy rate has been lower in male
suicides than in female ones.
2. Male cases were rather widely distributed over the age group of 10's to 50's, whereas in
female predominantly within the 10's to 30's. The age distribution of the legal autopsy cases
in either sex seemed to be similar to that of general suicides.
3. As for the cause of death, poisoning was 72.9%, hanging 25.4%, and cut of blood
vessels 1.7%. The structure of cause of death WqS different from male to female; poisoning
was more frequently observed in male cases.
4. In poisoning, the major agents were potassium cyanide (57.1%), agricultural drugs
(23.1 %), and carbon monoxide (8.5%).
5. Males used more predominantly potassium cyanide than females as a suicidal poison,
especially in male 10's and 20's.
6. In 1930's, sodium hydroxide was used exclusively, in 1960's sodium hydroxide and
other agents in half and half, and in early 1980's potassium cyanide (57.1%) and agricultural
drugs (23.1%).
7. With the above findings, it is speculated that the availability and accessibility playa great
role in choosing specific poison as a suicidal measure. It is highly recommended to carry out
toxicological study on the oncoming available and accessible poisons in aspect of legal medicine.
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College of Medicine/School of Medicine (의과대학/대학원)Dept. of Medicine (의학과)The Seoul Journal of MedicineThe Seoul Journal of Medicine Vol. 26 No.2 (1985)
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