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Burns. 2000 Aug;26(5):460-4.

A prospective study of suicidal burns admitted to the Harare burns unit.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University of Zimbabwe, Harare.


The aim of this study was to obtain prospective information on suicidal (attempted suicide) burns patients admitted to the Harare burns unit during 1995-1998. Forty-seven patients, 42 females (89%) and five males (11%), evenly distributed throughout the period of study, were included. The median age was 25 years, range 13 to 50 years. Thirty were housewives (64%). Women married according to customary law were the group most at risk. All patients were burnt by flame after dousing themselves with paraffin or petrol. Conflict in love relationships was the most common circumstance leading to attempted suicide. The median Total Body Surface Area (TBSA) burnt was 60%, range 10-90%, for all patients, 25%, range 10-40%, for those who survived and 65%, range 20-95%, for those who died. Surgery was performed on 16 patients (34%). Mortality was 68%. The overall median hospital stay for all patients was 10 days, range 0-322 days, and 5 days, range 0-322 days, for those who died.

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