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Journal of Indian Academy of Forensic Medicine
Year : 2007, Volume : 29, Issue : 1
First page : ( 14) Last page : ( 17)
Print ISSN : 0971-0973.

Accidental burns in Indian kitchens: Are they really accidental?

Dr. Sharma B. R.*M.B.B.S., M.D.Reader, Dr. Harish D., M.B.B.S., M.D.Reader, Dr. Sharma Anup, M.B.B.S., M.D.Junior Resident, Dr. Sharma Swati, M.B.B.S.Demonstrator, Singh Harshabad, Final Year M.B.B.S. Student

Dept. of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, Govt. Medical College & Hospital, Chandigarh - 160030 India

*Correspondence: Dr. B. R. Sharma, # 1156 – B, Sector – 32 B, Chandigarh – 160030. India. E-mail: drbrsharma@yahoo.com

Abstract

Burn injuries sustained by the Indian women while working in the kitchen/cooking food comprise a unique entity in the burn epidemiology as even though almost all such kitchens are equipped with LPG stoves, these victims are reported to have been cooking on kerosene oil stove at the time of the alleged accident. This retrospective study was undertaken with an aim to highlight the various aspects of such ‘accidental fatal burns’. 19% of the medicolegal autopsies conducted during the study period were the deaths due to burns. The 21 to 30 years age group accounted for 56% of the cases and male: female ratio was 1: 4. The most common cause of death in these cases was septicemia, while in 26% of the cases, 51 to 60% of the total body surface area (TBSA) was involved. Majority of the females sustained burns in the early evening, between 6 – 7.30 PM (34%); in their in-law's house, (61%); and belonged to a lower socioeconomic strata having an income of < 10,000 INR per month, (76%). Whereas, majority of the males sustained burns in the afternoon (1.30 – 4.30 PM) or early evening (6 – 7.30 PM), 19% cases each and at their work places, 53% cases. These trends of gender based burn injuries speak for themselves and demand for a comprehensive review of the laws relating such incidents.

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Key Words

Burns, Dowry Deaths, Kitchen Accidents.

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