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South Med J. 1989 Sep;82(9):1128-34.

Fatal injuries in Oklahoma: descriptive epidemiology using Medical Examiner data.

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  • 1Epidemiology Program Office, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, GA 30333.


To characterize mortality associated with injuries and other health problems in Oklahoma, we examined data from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of the State of Oklahoma for the years 1978 through 1984. Each year, approximately 1,500 and 800 deaths resulted from unintentional injury (UI) and intentional injury (ie, suicide and homicide), respectively. The medical examiner (ME) data differed substantially from the state's vital statistics (VS); over the seven years, the ME records showed 2,021 (16%) fewer UI deaths than did the VS, as well as 24 (1%) more cases of suicide and 499 (23%) more cases of homicide. Rates for UI and suicide were highest for young adults and for the elderly; in contrast, rates for homicide were highest for young adults, and then decreased with age. For each of the three categories of injury-related deaths, rates for male subjects were approximately three times those for female subjects; rates also varied by race-ethnic group. Deaths due to UI and homicide occurred more often in the summer and on weekends, though suicides did not vary by month and were slightly more common on weekdays. This study indicates that ME data represent an important source of epidemiologic information for the surveillance and study of injury-related mortality.

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