Mechanical trauma in children and adolescents in Berlin

This study analyzes trauma mechanisms in deceased pediatric patients. Fatal pediatric trauma cases aged 0 –18 years who underwent forensic autopsy in the Federal State of Berlin, Germany, between 2008 until 2018 were enrolled in this retrospective study. Autopsy protocols were analyzed regarding demographic characteristics, trauma mechanisms, injury patterns, resuscitation measures, survival times as well as place, and cause of death. 71 patients (73% male) were included. Traffic accidents (40%) were the leading cause of trauma, followed by falls from height >  3 m (32%), railway accidents (13%), third party violence (11%) and other causes (4%). While children under 14 years of age died mostly due to traumatic brain injury (59%), polytrauma was the leading cause of death in patients >  14 years (55%). Other causes of death were hemorrhage (9%), thoracic trauma (1%) or other (10%). A suicidal background was proven in 24%. In the age group of>  14 years, 40% of all mortalities were suicides. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation was carried out in 39% of all patients. 42% of the patients died at the scene. Children between 0 and 14 years of age died most frequently from traumatic brain injury. In adolescents between 14 and 18 years of age, poly trauma was mostly the cause of death with a high coincidence of suicidal deaths. The frequency of fatal traffic accidents and suicides shows the need to improve accident and suicide prevention for children and adolescents.
Source: Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology - Category: Forensic Medicine Source Type: research