Nearly 95% of global burn deaths and disabilities are estimated to occur in low and middle income countries of the world. Burns are extremely common and are a major public health problem in a developing country like India. The purpose of this study was to record and evaluate the causes and the magnitude of the fatal burns retrospectively. An analysis of autopsy records revealed 2225 (10.7%) cases of burns among the total autopsies done over 5 years period (1st January 2008-27th November 2012) in the mortuary of Forensic Medicine & Toxicology, K.G.M.U., Lucknow. The majority of deaths (88.8%) occurred between 10 and 49 years of age group with a preponderance of females (87.5%). The flame burns were seen in 60.1% of the victims. The majority of burn incidents were suicidal (38.6%) in nature followed by accidental (37.3%) and homicidal (24.1%) deaths. The percentages of burns with a total body surface area (TBSA) over 50% were observed in most of the cases (82.5%). In most of the cases deaths occurred within a week (82%) and most of the victims died from septicaemia and pneumonia (43.7%) followed by neurogenic shock (28.5%). The results of this study provide the necessary information to implement programmes for health education relating to prevention of burns focusing on the domestic setting.
Keywords: Burn deaths; Flame burns; India; Mortality; Septicaemia.
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