Journal of Forensic Pathology

Journal of Forensic Pathology
Open Access

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Abstract

Rape Homicide Following Criminal Abortion: An Autopsy Finding in Calabar, Nigeria

Theophilus Ipeh Ugbem and Martin Nnoli

Background: Medical practitioners have been accused by female patients of sexual assault (rape) while undertaking examination on them in their consulting room without chaperons which is against medical ethics. In the said case the medical officer sustained a deep laceration to his tongue leading to massive blood loss and his death.

Aim/Objectives: To determine the cause of death of a senior medical doctor in the theatre while performing an evacuation on a first trimester primigravida undergraduate female student using Dilatation and Curettage method alone in his clinic without an assistance or a chaperone.

Materials and Method: This is a hospital based autopsy carried out in the Department of Pathology, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital on a medical officer who died on arrival at the accident and emergency unit of the hospital on account of massive blood loss resulting from multiple deep laceration he sustained on his tongue without injuries to his upper and lower lips or mucous membranes while performing a dilatation and curettage procedure on a young undergraduate female patient without a chaperone in his private clinic.

Results: The patient was markedly pale with a deep laceration on the posterior surface of the tongue and held loosely by six absorbable catgut suture located 2.5 cm from the tip of his tongue and measuring 4 cm in length and 2 cm in depth, obliquely oriented against the line of the patients dentition on the anterior surface and both fresh and altered blood within the tracheobronchial tree, esophagus and lungs. There were generalized visceral organ pallor and shock kidneys.

Conclusion: The cause of death is exsanguination secondary to traumatic injury to the tongue. Poor surgical repair of both vascular and muscle planes of the tongue resulted in failure to arrest the bleeding. Bite marks against the patient’s dentition helped in linking his injuries to the female patient.

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