Medico-legal Aspects of Burned Cases Admitted to Burn Unit in Tanta University Hospital

Document Type : Original Article


Forensic Medicine and Clinical Toxicology Department, Faculty of Medicine, Tanta University, Tanta, Egypt.


Background: Burns continue to be a medical, psychological and economic problem in developed and developing countries. Burns in Egypt represent a major problem as compared with heart diseases, malignancy and road accidents.
Objectives: Accordingly, this work was conducted to study the medico legal aspects of burned cases and the magnitude of burn problem in Burn Unit in Tanta University Hospital.
Study design: This study was cross sectional, conducted over six months where (160 ) burned cases admitted  to Burn Unit in Tanta University hospital from the start of March 2013 to the end of August 2013. All the patients were included except old burn injuries.  Patients were interviewed, clinically examined and investigated, and then data were collected in a specially designed sheet for every patient.
Results: One hundred and sixty cases admitted to Burn Unit in Tanta University Hospital during a period of six months from the start of March 2013 to the end of August 2013. The highest percentage of patients was among the age group less than 10 years (38.125%). The majority of the studied cases were distributed among males (58.1%) in rural areas (61.9%). Burns at home constituted (84.4%) of burns. Concerning the agent causing burn, flame constituted (51.9%) followed by scald (37.5%), chemical (6.3%) and electrical burns (4.4%). Most flame burns were due to explosion of gas cylinder. Most burns were of second degree (49.37%), distributed all over the body (43.8%) and involved 15-30% total body surface area (TBSA) (40%). Accidental burns accounted for 95% of all cases followed by suicidal and homicidal cases (3.1 and 1.9% respectively). All suicidal cases were females, caused by flame and distributed all over the body with involvement of more than 60% TBSA. While homicidal cases were males in urban areas. Respiratory complications were the commonest cause of death (38.9%). It could be concluded that intensive educational programs concerning burn dangers, proper prevention, safety measures and regular servicing of gas appliances must be followed. Psychological autopsy is needed in suicidal cases.