Authors

Abstract

Objective: To identify errors in forensic reports and to describe the characteristics of traumatic medico-legal cases presenting to the emergency department (ED) at a tertiary care hospital.Methods: This study is a retrospective cross-sectional study. The study includes cases resulting in a forensic report among all traumatic patients presenting to the ED of Adiyaman University Training and Research Hospital, Adiyaman, Turkey during a 1-year period. We recorded the demographic characteristics of all the cases, time of presentation to the ED, traumatic characteristics of medico-legal cases, forms of suicide attempt, suspected poisonous substance exposure, the result of follow-up and the type of forensic report.Results: A total of 4300 traumatic medico-legal cases were included in the study and 72% of these cases were male. Traumatic medico-legal cases occurred at the greatest frequency in July (10.1%) and 28.9% of all cases occurred in summer. The most frequent causes of traumatic medico-legal cases in the ED were traffic accidents (43.4%), violent crime (30.5%), and suicide attempt (7.2%). The most common method of attempted suicide was drug intake (86.4%). 12.3% of traumatic medico-legal cases were hospitalized and 24.2% of those hospitalized were admitted to the orthopedics service. The most common error in forensic reports was the incomplete recording of the patient's “cooperation” status (82.7%). Additionally, external traumatic lesions were not defined in 62.4% of forensic reports.Conclusion: The majority of traumatic medico-legal cases were male age 18-44 years, the most common source of trauma was traffic accidents and in the summer months. When writing a forensic report, emergency physicians made mistakes in noting physical examination findings and identifying external traumatic lesions. Physicians should make sure that the traumatic medico-legal patients they treat have adequate documentation for reference during legal proceedings. The legal duties and responsibilities of physicians should be emphasized with in-service training.

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