A one-year retrospective study on the pattern of death found at autopsy at Forensic Pathology Department, Menelik II Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Background: The main objectives of this study were to determine the magnitude, manner and modalities of natural and unnatural deaths among deaths brought to the Forensic Pathology Department. Menelik II Hospital, for post mortem examination and secondary to find the remedial measures that may have influence on the incidence of preventable deaths.
Methods: This retrospective study was conducted in the Department of Forensic Pathology at Menelik II Hospital, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. From January 1st, 2014 to December 31st, 2014.
The Study material was collected from Forensic Pathology Department of Menelik II Hospital, postmortem reports. A total of 4206 cases of deaths were done postmortem examination during the one-year study period. All these cases were grouped according to age, gender, manners and modalities of natural and unnatural deaths. The data collected was analyzed.
Results: Out of total 4206 cases, the male to female ratio 3:1. The age group most commonly involved was 16-30 years (41,5%) followed by 31-55 years (38,3%). Only 7.8% were in the under 15years age group. The commonest mode of death in all age groups put together was accident in 1615 (38.4%) followed by natural death in 1156 (27.5%), homicidal deaths accounted for 698 (16.6%) followed by suicide in 508 (12%). In 229 (5.4%) of the cases the manner of death remained undetermined. Among 698 homicidal deaths, blunt weapon injury accounted for 61.4% and bullet injury were in 15.4%. Among the accidental deaths, road traffic injuries were 1092 (67.6%), followed by fall accident in 170 (10.5%). Hanging was the preferred modality of suicide (88.4%), followed by poisoning 51 (10%). Natural death accounted for 1190 (27.5%) and cardiac disease was the most predominant 453 (38%), followed by respiratory disease 240 (20.2%).
Conclusion: Our study concludes that unnatural deaths exceeded enormously the natural deaths. Accident was the most dominant manner of death among the unnatural deaths. Road Traffic Accident was the commonest modality among accidental deaths. Fatalities caused by blunt weapon injuries were the commonest mode of homicide; whereas hanging was the preferred modality of suicide. Cardiovascular diseases were the leading causes of natural deaths. Most deaths are preventable, so concerned bodies are expected to take action of prevention and increase the public awareness of the real situation and the causes of both natural and unnatural deaths and subsequently make an impact in the decrement of death rate in our societies.