monoxide fatalities in medicolegal autopsies.
Abu-al Ragheb SY. Battah AH.
Medicine, Science & the Law. 39(3):243-6, 1999 Jul.
All post-mortem medicolegal reports issued by Jordan University
Hospital (JUH) during the period 1978-96 were reviewed. Carbon
monoxide (CO) as a silent killer was responsible for 31.5% (n =
110) of poisoning fatalities. These were due to unintentional
exposure to CO sources in confined spaces (bedrooms (24.6%),
worker lodgings (23.6%) and bathrooms (16.4%), and without the
victims being aware of CO hazards. Sixty-five per cent of CO
fatalities occurred during December to February and 30% of the
cases involved the age group 20-29 years, followed by the age
group 30-39 years (20%). Non-Jordanians constituted 50% of CO
fatalities and Egyptian workers accounted for 78%. Being
unaccustomed to cold climates, and on low incomes, they had been
using simple and unsafe heating devices. Many of these deaths
could have been prevented. Safety educational campaigns to
increase awareness of the general population of CO sources,
their hazards and how to avoid them should be held continuously
during the cold months of the year. All health and safety
sectors are advised to be involved.
Forensic Medicine and Toxicology Division, Faculty of Medicine,
University of Jordan, Amman, Jordan.