Nigerian Journal of Orthopaedics and Trauma

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Fatal gunshots to the head and neck regions in Benin City, Nigeria

WO Akhiwu, IU Madukwe, BI Akhiwu, HE Akpowowo


OBJECTIVE: To ascertain the magnitude of fatal gunshot injuries to the head and neck in Benin City.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: This is a prospective study of fatal gun shots to the head and neck region with respect to age, sex, intent for the gunshots, type of gun, area of the head and neck affected and who did the shooting. Deaths due to gunshot to the head, which were investigated by the state C.I.D., Nigeria Police Force, Benin and for which autopsies were performed between January 1978 and December 2002 formed the database

RESULTS: Fatal gunshots to the head and neck out of 210 fatal gunshots (26.2%) were considered. Males out numbered females in an 8.2:1 ratio. The average age for victims was 38.3 years (SD 132.2) with a range of 5 years – 82 years. Most of the shots (89.1%) were murder cases, with accidental, suicidal, excusable homicidal and unclear circumstances accounting for the remaining 10.9%. Guns capable of firing pellets were used in 76.4% of cases while guns capable of firing bullets were used in the remaining 23.6%.

CONCLUSION: The magnitude of gunshot deaths is underreported in Nigeria due to non –enforcement of the provision of the coroner Act. Improving the general level of security, training more neurosurgeons and reducing poverty may reduce the number of fatal gunshots to the head and neck region

Nigerian Journal of Orthopaedics and Trauma Vol.3(1) 2004: 50-56

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