Wound Site

Wound sites, according to manner of death, are described in Table 1.

Hara-kiri (hara = belly, kiri = to cut), a traditional form of suicide in Japan, is an uncommon type of self-inflicted abdominal wound (27,85). Classically, the victim thrusts the blade of a sword into the lower left quadrant of the abdomen, then cuts horizontally to the right, followed by an upward cut (27,85,89). The result is a painful L-shaped wound in the abdominal wall but no injury to the underlying viscera (85,89). Death is delayed and subsequent self-inflicted cuts of the neck, chest, and upper extremities hasten the demise of the victim (18,27,85,89). Traditionally, assistants were present to behead the individual following the abdominal incision (18,27). Individuals engaged in this ritual may have a psychiatric disorder or be intoxicated (85).

Fig. 21. Self-inflicted incised wound of antecubital fossa. Note superficial incision ("hesitation" wound; arrow) running parallel to deep wound.
Fig. 22. Precordial grouping of multiple self-inflicted stab wounds. All have a horizontal orientation.
Fig. 23. Self-inflicted stab and incised wounds of the neck. Deep incision shows a "superficial tail" (arrowhead) and an adjacent superficial cut ("hesitation" injury; arrow).

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