Suicide: A Ten-Year Retrospective Review of Kentucky Medical Examiner Cases

    Volume 50, Issue 3 (May 2005)

    ISSN: 0022-1198

    CODEN: JFSOAD

    Published Online: 6 April 2005

    Page Count: 5


    Hunsaker, DM
    Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Louisville, KY and the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, KY

    Hunsaker, JC
    Office of the Associate Chief Medical Examiner, Frankfort, KY and Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington, KY

    Shields, LBE
    Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Louisville, KY and the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, KY

    (Received 2 August 2004; accepted 6 November 2004)

    Abstract

    Suicide, a manner of death, ranked as the eleventh leading cause of death in the United States and accounted for approximately 30,000 deaths in 2001. A host of biological and psychosocial components interplay in a suicide investigation. Precipitating factors may include domestic quarrels, loss of employment, financial difficulties, substance abuse, chronic disease, or mental illness. The authors conducted a ten-year (1993–2002) retrospective review of suicide from all Medical Examiners' Offices in Kentucky. There were 2,864 suicides ranging between 11 and 96 years (average age 42.0 years). The majority of victims were males (81.7%) and Caucasian (94.8%). African-American females comprised the smallest group, consisting of only 0.59%. The preferred mode of death was by firearm (67.5%), followed by hanging (13.7%), overdose (9.9%), and carbon monoxide poisoning (4.4%). This comprehensive study discusses the trends of suicide in the United States during the twentieth century and underscores the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to the investigation and prevention of suicide.


    Paper ID: JFS2004345

    DOI: 10.1520/JFS2004345

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    Author
    Title Suicide: A Ten-Year Retrospective Review of Kentucky Medical Examiner Cases
    Symposium , 0000-00-00
    Committee E30