On the Improvement of Suicide Determination

    Volume 19, Issue 2 (April 1974)

    ISSN: 0022-1198

    CODEN: JFSOAD

    Published Online: 1 April 1974

    Page Count: 8


    Gantner, GE
    Professor of pathology, St. Louis University School of Medicine, Clayton, Mo.

    Murphy, GE
    Professor of psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Mo.

    Ernst, MF
    St. Louis University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Mo.

    Wetzel, RD
    Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Mo.

    Katz, S
    Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Mo.

    (Received 3 May 1973; accepted 25 July 1973)

    Abstract

    Simply stated, suicide is intentional self-destruction. It is tempting to think of it as a clear-cut phenomenon with discrete borders. But every medical examiner and coroner knows the problem of deciding intent when the blood alcohol level is high and the barbiturate level low. The presence of a suicide note, verified to be in the victim's handwriting, may be accepted as reliable proof of suicide. But a note is found in no more than one third of cases judged to be suicide [1,2]. The criteria employed in the remainder of cases are unstated, although physical circumstances at the scene and toxicologic findings must be assumed to carry much weight. No set of established criteria or indices exists to guide the decision.


    Paper ID: JFS10172J

    DOI: 10.1520/JFS10172J

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    Author
    Title On the Improvement of Suicide Determination
    Symposium , 0000-00-00
    Committee E30