Audit of Firearm Autopsy Cases in District Sahiwal
Background: Firearm injuries are the major problem that severely affects the victims, their families, health care delivery as well as criminal justice system. Firearm fatalities are more common in rural areas of the developing countries like Pakistan. Easy availability of the guns has drastically enhanced the incidence of firearm related deaths. Many studies on fatal firearm injuries have been published but their pattern and targeted areas usually remain underreported. Objective: To explore the pattern of fatal firearm injuries and their distribution over the body areas; and to know the demographic profile of those victims autopsied in District Sahiwal, during year 2016. Study design: Descriptive Study. Setting and Duration: The study was conducted by examining the autopsy record of three hospitals in Sahiwal District i.e. District Headquarter (DHQ) Teaching Hospital Sahiwal, Haji Abdul Qayum Hospital Sahiwal and Tehsil Headquarter Hospital (THQ) Chichawatni during the calendar year 2016. Methodology: The data was collected from the record of all autopsy cases conducted at above mentioned three hospitals during the study period. The cases of firearm related deaths were segregated and studied in detail. The variables were age, gender, residential background of the victims and body areas involved. The dead bodies having injuries other than firearms were not included. Results: During the calendar year 2016, total 178 cases were brought for autopsy whereas 73 were the victims of firearms. The data collected, entered on the Performa and analyzed which showed that 60.3% victims of firearms were between 20-39 years of age. Male to female ratio was 2.5:1. The chest was the most affected body region in (41.1%) cases followed by abdomen and pelvis (37%), head (35.6%) and extremities were involved in (26%) victims. As regards residential background of the victims; 78.1% cases belonged to the rural areas and 15.1% were living in urban area. Conclusion: Most of the victims targeted by firearm were young males from rural community and injuries over the chest were the leading cause of death. Therefore, there is dire need to tighten the legislation regarding use of firearms as well as to modify the aggressive behavior and lifestyle of youth.