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Korean J Leg Med > Volume 43(1); 2019 > Article
Korean Journal of Legal Medicine 2019;43(1):7-15.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.7580/kjlm.2019.43.1.7    Published online February 28, 2019.
Significance of Knife Tip Injuries as Hesitation Marks.
Eun Sil Jang, SangHan Lee
1Graduate School of Forensic and Investigative Science, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, Korea.
2Department of Forensic Medicine, School of Medicine, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, Korea. sanghan1@knu.ac.kr
Hesitation wounds are tentative, superficial incised wounds around the fatal wound(s). This study aimed to investigate the frequency and characteristic features of hesitation wounds including ordinary incised wounds and knife tip injuries as hesitation marks from the autopsy cases of suicides using sharp force instruments. The subjects were 478 cases out of 3,131 suicide cases autopsied at the Department of Forensic Medicine, School of Medicine, Kyungpook National University in Daegu, from August, 2001 to 2013. 48 cases (approximately 10%) were suicides using sharp force instruments. In 27 cases (56.3%), the sharp force was successfully applied causing suicide; 17 cases (35.4%) were so called complex suicide cases, in which two or more different methods including sharp force injury were used; and the 4 remaining cases were suicides caused by other reasons. Overall hesitation wounds had a high frequency of 33/48 cases (68.8%). The frequency of cases in which knife tip injuries were found was lower, appearing in 13/33 cases (39.3%). The most preferred sites of knife tip injuries were the abdomen (9 cases), neck (4 cases), chest (3 cases), and face (1 case) in these 13 cases, including several overlapped cases. The average number of knife tip injuries was 14.6. A total of 88.2% of knife tip injuries was found near the incised hesitation wounds or fatal wounds. In conclusion, knife tip injuries may be a significant factor in identifying hesitation wounds, and they should be precisely examined and evaluated during autopsies to determine the manner of death.
Key Words: Sharp force injury, Hesitation wound, Knife tip injury, Suicide, Complex suicide
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