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Korean J Leg Med > Volume 41(2); 2017 > Article
Korean Journal of Legal Medicine 2017;41(2):56-59.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.7580/kjlm.2017.41.2.56    Published online May 31, 2017.
Fatal Delayed Hemothorax after Simple Rib Fracture.
Minju Lee, Sang Bum Lim, Hye Jeong Kim, Sohyung Park, Hongil Ha
1Department of Pathology, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
2Division of Forensic Medicine, National Forensic Service Busan Institute, Yangsan, Korea.
3Division of Forensic Investigation, National Forensic Service Seoul Institute, Seoul, Korea. sanchee@korea.kr
We report the case of a 66-year-old man who died of fatal delayed hemothorax after blunt trauma to the chest. When the deceased was transferred to the hospital, his vital signs were stable; hence, medical attention was focused only on the fracture on right ankle. Three days after the orthopedic surgery, he became unsettled with symptoms similar to delirium and exhibited unstable vital signs; he then suddenly died. On autopsy, a beveled fracture was identified on the posterior aspect of the left second rib with hemothorax. It was because of a rupture in the intercostal artery at the fracture site that a simple fracture in a rib, following a blunt chest trauma can be a potentially life-threatening condition. We suggest that a meticulous examination should be performed at the rib fracture sites when a blunt trauma to the chest is suspected even when there are no internal organ injuries identified except hemothorax.
Key Words: Hemothorax, Rib fractures, Death, Autopsy
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