Volume 47, Issue 3 (May 2002)
Sharp Injury Fatalities in New York City
We reviewed the case records of all fatalities due to sharp injuries in New York City in 1999. The epidemiological profile, circumstances, toxicology results, location, and injuries were examined. There were 120 deaths: 101 homicides, 17 suicides, and 2 accidents. The causes of death included: 112 due to stab(s) with or without incised wounds and 8 pure incised wound fatalities of which 5 were suicides. The detection of ethanol and/or illicit drugs was 61% in the homicide and 12% in the suicide groups. “Defense wounds” were reported in 49% of the homicides and “hesitation” wounds were found in 65% of the suicides. There were no selfinflicted sharp injuries of the face. Deaths due to a single stab wound occurred in 34% (34/101) of the homicides and 24% (4/17) of the suicides. Of these 38 deaths, 58% were of the anterior thorax (chest) and 71% injured the heart and/or great vessels. The remaining deaths with single stab wounds involved the femoral artery, abdominal organs, or head. There were no sharp injury suicides by Hispanics, Asians, or anyone under the age of 18 years. Over half of the suicides at home occurred in the bathroom and 78% of these occurred in the bathtub. Suicide notes were found in 24% of suicides, and an additional 24% verbally expressed a plan to commit suicide.