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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 6-10

Pattern of unnatural death among females in niger delta: A retrospective medicolegal study

1 Department of Pathology, Central Hospital, Sapele, Nigeria
2 Department of Histopathology, Delta State University, Delta State, Abraka, Nigeria
3 Department of Pathology, Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Obiora Jude Uchendu
Department of Histopathology, Delta State University, Abraka, Delta State
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/atp.atp_54_18

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Background: Unnatural death among women is rarely emphasized but an important public health index of the community and society. Objective: The objective is to study the epidemiologic profile of unnatural death among females using autopsy data. Design: This is a 14-year descriptive retrospective study of all female unnatural death victims within Warri and its neighboring communities subjected to medicolegal autopsy. Materials and Methods: Information on age as well as manner and method of death were extracted from the autopsy report of the cases and subsequently analyzed using Microsoft Office Excel 2007. Results: Ninety-six females were examined in this study, representing 9.9% of the 975 medicolegal performed and 11.4% of the 805 unnatural deaths encountered during the study period. The age range is 1–70 years and the mean age is 29.82 years. These cases represent a mean annual incidence of about seven cases. The peak incidence of unnatural death occurred in the third decade (27.1%), followed by the fourth (19.8%) and fifth (15.6%) decades, respectively. The peak incidence for homicide and accidental deaths is in the third and fourth decades, respectively. Firearm-related death is the leading method of homicide accounting for 24 (53.3%) of the 45 homicide deaths. The use of blunt and sharp weapons each accounts for 10 (22.2%) of the cases. Road traffic accident (RTA) accounts for 28 cases, representing 59.6% of accidental deaths and 29.1% of unnatural deaths. Burns and drowning are the second and third leading causes of accidental death accounting for 11 (23.4%) and 3 (6.4%) of the accidental deaths. Four cases of suicide were encountered with three deaths as a result of ingestion of chemical poisons, while the fourth case was by hanging using rope. Conclusion: The study showed that unnatural deaths in women are mainly accidental, homicidal, and suicidal representing 49.0%, 46.0%, and 4.2% of the cases respectively. RTA, burns, drowning, and poisoning (in descending order) are the major causes of accidental deaths. Firearm, sharp, and blunt injuries (in descending order) are the major methods of executing homicides. The peak age for unnatural death is in the third decade with 75% of the death clustering within the 2nd–4th decade. Education, accident consciousness, parental supervision, and implementation of appropriate policy measures are paramount to reducing such death.

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