The University of Adelaide CENTRE FOR AUTOMOTIVE SAFETY RESEARCH

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TitleUpper and lower limb amputations in vehicle-related fatalities
AuthorsO'Donovan S, van den Heuvel C, Baldock MRJ, Byard RW
Year2021
TypeJournal Article
AbstractHighlights

- Traumatic limb amputation is rare in occupants following a motor vehicle collision.

- A retrospective analysis was over a 19 year period was performed.

- 18 cases (1.54%) of occupant fatalities had a traumatic limb amputation (age range 1878 years; mean 44.2 years; M:F 13:5).

- Head on impacts without subsequent rollover were the most common collision type in both upper and lower amputation.

- The likely cause of limb amputation in vehicle crashes is, therefore, speed on impact rather than rollovers.

Traumatic limb amputation is rare in occupants following a motor vehicle collision (MVC). A retrospective analysis of autopsy reports at Forensic Science South Australia (FSSA) over a 19 year period from January 2000 to December 2018 was performed to determine the incidence of limb amputation in lethal collisions and to identify predisposing factors. Only 18 cases (1.54%) of occupant fatalities had a traumatic limb amputation with an age range of 18-78 years (mean 44.2 years), male to female ratio 13:5, and an average body mass index (BMI) of 28.5 (overweight). There were nine cases of upper limb amputation and nine cases of lower limb amputation (one case had both upper and lower limb amputations). Head on impacts without subsequent rollover were the most common collision type in both upper and lower amputation. The likely cause of limb amputation in vehicle crashes is, therefore, speed on impact rather than rollovers as has been previously suggested.

Journal TitleJournal of Forensic and Legal Medicine
Journal Volume (Issue)82, 102225 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jflm.2021.102225

Reference
O'Donovan S, van den Heuvel C, Baldock MRJ, Byard RW (2021) 'Upper and lower limb amputations in vehicle-related fatalities', Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine, 82, 102225 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jflm.2021.102225.