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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2013  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 46-47

An accidental death due to electric grinder: Dupatta as a strangulation hazard

Department of Forensic Medicine, Yenepoya Medical College, Mangalore, India

Date of Web Publication21-Jun-2013

Correspondence Address:
Deepak Herald D'Souza
Department of Forensic Medicine, Yenepoya Medical College, Mangalore
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2321-4848.113563

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Accidents could occur at home in any age group. Accidental ligature strangulation in adults could be prevented. We are reporting a case of a woman who died in her kitchen due to accidental strangulation by her dupatta while working with the electric grinder. This case highlights the need to educate the people about the safety and potential hazards of these machines.

Keywords: Accidental death, ligature strangulation, prevention

How to cite this article:
D'Souza DH, Vaswani VR, Badiadka KK, Shenoy VK, Babu B. An accidental death due to electric grinder: Dupatta as a strangulation hazard. Arch Med Health Sci 2013;1:46-7

How to cite this URL:
D'Souza DH, Vaswani VR, Badiadka KK, Shenoy VK, Babu B. An accidental death due to electric grinder: Dupatta as a strangulation hazard. Arch Med Health Sci [serial online] 2013 [cited 2021 Oct 20];1:46-7. Available from: https://www.amhsjournal.org/text.asp?2013/1/1/46/113563

  Introduction Top

Accidents can occur in any place. Accidents are generally expected in places such as roads, factories, and unfamiliar places marked as dangerous. Although people think of their homes as a place of comfort and security, it can also carry some safety risks. Common causes for accidents that could occur at home can be categorized as falls, poisoning, burns, drowning, strangulation, etc.

Dupatta which is also called as orni, odhni, chunri, chunni, orna, veil, and pacheri is a long, multi-purpose scarf that is essential to many South Asian women's suits and has long been a symbol of modesty. The primary use of a dupatta is to cover the head and/or any inadvertent cleavage and the contour of the bosom. Accidental Ligature Strangulation in adults, although is reported in literature, [1],[2],[3],[4],[5],[6] needs to be further discussed with the special attention towards prevention of ligature strangulation caused by dupatta.

  Case Report Top

A 36-year-old woman, who was wearing a dupatta while working with the electric grinder in her kitchen, got entangled to the coconut grater and was found in an unconscious state. Although the incident was not witnessed by anybody, it was guessed to be so because of the known routine schedule of her work in kitchen and other circumstances such as the day time and no mental depression. She was declared as brought dead at the hospital. Autopsy showed that the victim was 163 cms tall. Her face was congested, and the nail beds were bluish in color. An abrasion measuring 2 × 3.5 cms was present just beneath the chin. Another abrasion measuring 2 × 0.3 cms was present on the upper border on the left side of the neck. A ligature mark, brownish in color, horizontal, measuring 34 × 2 cms was present completely encircling the neck below the level of the thyroid cartilage. Another abrasion, measuring 9 × 1 cms, was present over the right clavicular region. Contusions, three in number, reddish in color, measuring 0.5 × 0.5 cms × skin deep, were present over an area of 4 × 4 cms on the right clavicular region [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Injuries on the chest and neck

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Neck dissection under bloodless field did not show any other remarkable findings. Internal organs were intact and congested. Cause of death was furnished as ligature strangulation. Visit to the scene of accident helped us to positively correlate the injuries on the body with the protruding parts of the electric grinder [Figure 2]. The height of the grinder was 130 cms.
Figure 2: Electric grinder with the coconut grater

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  Discussion Top

Deaths due to ligature strangulation are rare. Their manner of death is usually homicidal in nature. Accidental strangulation is common in children compared to adults and the usual expected location of accident in adults in their workplace. It is possible to opine that the ligature strangulation is accidental in nature only if the autopsy and other investigations, including the visit to scene of accident, can rule out the possibility of a homicide, as in the present case. Even in the past, circumstantial evidence has been given due importance in ascertaining the manner of death. [3]

It is reported in the literature that about half of the cases of ligature strangulations may show the fracture of neck structures. [7] This present case showed absence of fractures of the neck skeleton. This can be attributed for the soft ligature material applying force below the level of the thyroid cartilage.

The present is another case which is added to the list of earlier reports of accidental ligature strangulation of healthy woman. [1],[2],[3],[4],[5],[6] The dupatta which covers the neck is responsible for accidental ligature strangulations in woman in many of the cases. Accidental deaths due to ligature strangulation are preventable. Wearing dupatta (without apron) while working in kitchen with machines such as electric grinder should be discouraged because it may get entangled to the machinery and cause fatal strangulation. The coconut grater, part of the electric grinder examined in this case, was located at the height which although makes it convenient to work with, but at the same time raises the level of risk of strangulation. Fortunately, we do not see such hazardous grinders being easily available in markets in recent times. This case depicts dupatta as a strangulation hazard, and authors wish to advise use of kitchen aprons, which can prevent kitchen accidents. Further, there is a need for safety grinders and coconut graters. Needless to say that the safety concerns should be addressed before permitting the manufactures to sell their products. People should be educated about the hazards of working with the rotary machines in a more effective way.

  Acknowledgement Top

We thank Mr. Hashim and Dr. Firoz Ismail for their help.

  References Top

1.Shetty M, Shetty BS. Accidental ligature strangulation due to electric grinder. J Clin Forensic Med 2006;13:148-50.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Deidiker RD. Accidental ligature strangulation due to a roller-type massage device. Am J Forensic Med Pathol 1999;20:354-6.   Back to cited text no. 2
3.Puttaswamy, Narayan A, Nithin MD. Accidental ligature strangulation: Importance of the circumstantial evidence. J South India Med Legal Assoc 2012;4:79-80.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Aggarwal NK, Agarwal BB. Accidental strangulation in a cycle rickshaw. Med Sci Law 1998;38:263-5.   Back to cited text no. 4
5.Dogan KH, Demirci S, Gunaydin G, Buken B. Accidental ligature strangulation by an ironing machine: An unusual case. J Forensic Sci 2010;55:251-3.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Agrawal A, Ninave S, Srivastava T, Sunkara A, Agrawal S. Accidental unilateral and incomplete strangulation injury in a patient while traveling on a bicycle. J Forensic Leg Med 2009;16:350-1.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Demirci S, Dogan KH, Erkol Z, Gunaydin G. Ligature strangulation deaths in the province of Konya (Turkey). J Forensic Leg Med 2009;16:248-52.  Back to cited text no. 7


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]

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