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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 179-183

Deaths due to electrocution: An evaluation of death scene investigations and autopsy findings

1 Forensic Medicine, Graduate School, University of Maryland, Maryland, USA
2 Forensic Medicine, Graduate School, University of Maryland; Forensic Medicine, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Evidence Science, Sino-US Forensic Science Research Center, Collaborative Innovation Center of Judicial Civilization, China University of Political Science and Law, Beijing, China

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Ling Li
Sino-US Forensic Evidence Science Research Center, Collaborative Innovation Center of Judicial Civilization, 900 West Baltimore Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21223

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jfsm.jfsm_57_18

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The purpose of the study was to delineate the epidemiological characteristics of electrocution deaths in Maryland, identify any potential risks, and address preventive measures. A retrospective review of all the deaths due to electrocution was conducted at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in the State of Maryland from 2005 to 2015. During the 11-year period, a total of 55 electrocution deaths were identified from the autopsy cases at the statewide medical examiner system. More males died of electrocution than females with its ratio of (M: F) = 9:1. Of the 55 cases, 67.3% were White, 18.2% were African-American, 12.7% were Hispanic, and 1.8% were other races. The age of the victims ranged from 4 to 83 years with mean age of 40 years. >96% deaths due to accidents and 3.4% were suicide. The majority of deaths (70.9%) were caused by high-voltage circuits. Approximately 64% of fatalities were work-related accidents. The study indicated that electrocution deaths frequently affected young male workers who were in contact with a high-voltage currents while on the job. The detailed death scene investigation and autopsy findings are presented. The potential hazards of electricity must continue to be addressed in public safety campaigns to prevent such deaths. Strategies should ensure safe work environments for any contact with electric currents.

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