A comparison of hypothermic deaths in South Australia and Sweden

Fiona M. Bright, Calle Winskog, Melissa Walker, Roger W. Byard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Case files from Forensic Science South Australia and the Swedish National Forensic Database were reviewed over a 6‐year period from 2006 to 2011 for cases where hypothermia either caused, or significantly contributed to, death. Data were analyzed for age, sex, time of year/season, place of discovery, circumstances of death, and underlying medical conditions. Despite the considerable demographic, geographic, and climatological differences, hypothermic deaths occurred at very similar rates in South Australia (3.9/100,000) and Sweden (3.3/100,000). Deaths from hypothermia in South Australia occurred predominantly indoors at home addresses, involving elderly females with multiple underlying illnesses and limited outside contacts. In contrast, Swedish hypothermic deaths generally occurred outdoors and involved middle‐aged elderly males. These data show that hypothermia may be a risk in warmer climates particularly for elderly, socially isolated individuals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)983-985
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Volume59
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • forensic science
  • hypothermia
  • temperate climate
  • social isolation
  • illness
  • senile squalor syndrome

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