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Cuadernos de Medicina Forense

On-line version ISSN 1988-611XPrint version ISSN 1135-7606


MIRO, F.; LAGUNA, C.; CAMINS, L.  and  CANOS, J.C.. Abdominal traumatism as cause of death in child abuse: report of a case. Cuad. med. forense [online]. 2009, n.56, pp.129-135. ISSN 1988-611X.

We present the case of the death of an 11 months old child, who was dead on arrival at the Accident and Emergency Service of his local hospital. He had traumatic wounds to the head and abdomen. The case was brought to the attention of the judge on duty. During the medico-legal autopsy, lineal excoriations were noted on the left cheek, and left periorbital ecchymosis, as well as ecchymosis of the right mandibular area. The presence of multiple round and oval ecchymoses of between 0.3 and 2 cm on the trunk, principally in the abdominal area, was particularly noticeable. The internal examination found a hemoperitoneum with tears in different serous and mesothelial membranes, with significant haemorrhagic infiltration at a retroperitoneal level and in the mesenteric area. It was concluded that it was a case of violent death caused, in medico-legal aetiology, by homicide. The immediate cause of death was an intra-abdominal haemorrhage and its fundamental cause was multiple abdominal traumas through compression. The situation described fully matches that found in the bibliography reviewed concerning abdominal wounds caused by child abuse.

Keywords : abdominal trauma; autopsy; child abuse; forensic pathology; hemoperitoneum.

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