Burns vs. toxic epidermal necrolysis: A medico-legal dilemma

Medico-Legal Journal, Ahead of Print.
Toxic epidermal necrolysis is a rapidly progressive exfoliating dermatosis which simulates second degree burns. The authors describe a fatal case reported as due to burns. Around 95% of the deceased’s total body surface area was affected, with epidermolysis over face, chest, abdomen, limbs and associated with mucosal involvement. Histopathological findings revealed epidermal necrolysis and confirmed the autopsy suspicion. Because of its sudden onset and rapid progression, toxic epidermal necrolysis often arises suspicion of burns by investigators. We emphasise the differentiating features between toxic epidermal necrolysis and burns and its implications.

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