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Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 1987 Mar;8(1):18-22.

Suicide by drowning.


A study of suicidal drownings was performed by using the case files of the Office of the Medical Examiner of Metropolitan Dade County in Miami, Florida, U.S.A., during 1980-1984. A total of 70 cases were collected and analyzed as to the age, race, sex, and cause of death of the victim, along with blood alcohol content, the drugs detected at postmortem examination, the geographic location of the terminal incident, the scene circumstances, the presence or absence of a suicide note, and the reason for the suicide. Essentially, one deals with an older white male population, although all age groups can be affected. Members of the population studied frequently died from drowning alone, rather than from additional contributory causes. Most were sober and frequently without drugs detected. Most incidents occurred at home or in a canal, with the victim just "found floating". A note was absent approximately half the time. The reason for the act was depression concerning poor health, death of a loved one, financial problems, chronic pain, or being "tired of life". A discussion ensues about the approach a forensic scientist should have concerning such cases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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