A rare case of complicated suicide: Self-immolation and subsequent stab heart injury due to fall into a glass door

Medico-Legal Journal, Ahead of Print.
Complicated suicides can be defined as incidents where death is caused by a subsequent trauma rather than the primary injury. Deaths which occur as a complication of the suicidal act are very rare with few reports in the literature. We present the case of a 60-year-old man who was found at his home while still alive. His body was burning and he was lying on his back impaled by shards of glass that had come from a broken glass door. An ambulance was called but the man died before arrival at hospital. The autopsy showed stab heart and lung injuries in thorax and an abdominal stab trauma which resulted in the protrusion of the small intestine. Homicide was excluded and the sequence of events was reconstructed to reveal a complicated suicide intended to result from self-immolation but which resulted in a fall against a glass door which in turn resulted in shards of glass piercing his body and a fatal stab wound to the heart.

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