Bone and cartilaginous injuries are seen in homicides and suicides (6,106). Costal and sternal injuries were seen less frequently in homicides involving children (23). Chest wall injuries are more likely when multiple skin wounds are evident ( 106). The anatomic site of bone/cartilaginous wounds usually corresponds to the site of injuries responsible for death (106). In one study, laryngeal cartilage trauma occurred in cases of homicide and suicide,
but injuries of the ribs, vertebrae, and skull were limited to homicides (see Subheading 6.2. and refs. 23 and 106). Injured ribs and sternal bone penetration/transection are possible in suicides (Fig. 19). Sternal transection has been described in severely mentally ill individuals (6). Rib and sternal wounds may have associated intercostal or internal mammary artery injuries (see Chapter 8, Subheading 6.1. and refs. 38, 73, and 107).
Tool classification is possible in the assessment of knife wounds involving rib cartilage (108). The consequent striations may have only general class characteristics, but small imperfections in the knife can produce individual marking patterns (108,109). These striations can be matched with the cutting edge of the knife using specialized techniques (109). Bone and cartilage from the injury site can excised and retained in formalin fixative (109).
Was this article helpful?