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Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 1998 Sep;19(3):230-3.

A penny (or peso) for your thoughts: an unusual intermediate target.

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  • 1Office of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Rockville, Maryland, USA.


Intermediate targets becoming secondary projectiles in gunshot wounds is a well recognized phenomenon. Secondary projectiles usually possess a fraction of the kinetic energy compared to the primary projectile, leading to superficial wounds of skin and soft tissue. We describe the case of a foreign object that was propelled by the primary bullet with sufficient energy to penetrate not only skin and soft tissue, but also temporal skull and brain. The report also examines the energy requirements for an object to penetrate bone and unique radiographic findings.

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