Profile of the Fatal Burn Deaths from the Varanasi Region, India 608-611
Department of Forensic Medicine,
Institute of Medical Sciences,
Banaras Hindu University, India – 221005.
Background: Burn deaths are a major public health problem in our country. In India, about 60,000 people suffer from burns annually, more than 50,000 are treated in hospitals and about 10,000 succumb to thermal injuries.
Aims: To study the demographic and the injury profiles of the burn fatalities which were brought to the mortuary of the Department of Forensic Medicine.
Subject and Methods: All the autopsies of the burn victims which were performed between July 2009 and December 2010 were analyzed with respect to the age-gender distribution, religion distribution, marital status, educational status, place of occurrence, source of the fire, survival period, body surface area which was involved and the cause of death. From the observations and the analysis, certain aetiologies were elicited and preventive measures were suggested.
Results: A majority of the victims (83%) were females. The maximum number of the victims (59.6%) belonged to the age group of 15 to 30 years, with the least number of victims from the age groups of ≥ 45 years and ≤15 years i.e. 5.6 % cases respectively. A majority of the victims (98.3%) in this present study cases were Hindus. Most of the victims (83.9%) were married. A majority of the victims (49.2%) had obtained upto primary school level education. The uneducated victims still form a major group, amounting to 15.3% of the burn victims. The maximum number (43.5%) of the burn victims died due to burns which were caused by kerosene oil. Only 0.9% cases were observed, where petrol was used as the inflammable material. In the present study, it was observed that in 39.6 % cases, more than 90% of the body surface area was involved. Only 3.2% of the deceased were seen with burns which involved <50% of the body surface area. Septicaemia was observed as a major cause of death (50%) among the deceased.
Conclusion: The epidemiological factors of burn injuries vary in different countries. For planning and implementing prevention programs, the approach has to be multi-disciplinary and coordinated.