Causes of death from wounds


Immediate or direct

  • Haemorrhage
    • It may be extemal or internal. External haemorrhage may produce marked fall in blood pressure and consequent shock, causing death either rapidly, if a large blood vessel, such as the carotid or femoral artery, has been wounded, or slowly, if a number of small vessels have been injured. Sudden loss of blood is more dangerous than the same quantity lost slowly. The loss of one-third of the blood in the body is almost enough to cause death. Internal haemorrhage may occur in penetrating and gunshot wounds. It need not be profuse for a fatal result; for a small quantity of haemorrhage in the brain or pericardium may prove rapidly fatal by disturbing the functions of the brain or heart owing to mechanical pressure on them. Blood flowing into the windpipe may cause death mechanically by asphyxia Rupture of internal organs like spleen, liver, lungs and heart usually causes fatal internal haemorrhage, only the symptoms are often noticed after a few hours.
  • Injury to a vital organ
    • Severe injury to a vital organ, such as crushing of the brain, heart, lungs, etc., is, as a rule, rapidly fatal.
  • Shock
    • Death may occur from shock without any visible injury due to paralysis of the heart by a hit in the cardiac region. Death from shock occurs easily in animals that are severely ill and weak, old and young.

Remote or indirect

  • Inflammation of the internal organs, such as meningitis, cerebritis, pleurisy, pneumonia, peritonitis, etc.
  • Septic infection of a wound causing septicaemia, pyaemia or exhaustion from prolonged suppuration.
  • Gangrene or necrosis resulting from severe crushing of parts and tearing of the blood vessels or crush syndrome.
  • Thrombosis in veins and embolism.
  • Infective diseases, such as erysipelas and tetanus, which may develop through the entrance of the causal organism through a wound.
  • Fat Embolism occurring after fracture of long bones and injury to fatty tissue.
  • In injuries to the jugular, cephalic and femoral veins, air may be sucked in because of the negative pressure during inspiration and intravenous injection may cause death.
  • Neglect of Injured Animal
  • Result of Surgical Operation - If death follows a surgical operation performed for the treatment of an injury caused by the offender, he shall be responsible for the result, if it is proved that the death was inevitable even without the operation and that the operation was thought necessary and was performed by a competent surgeon with reasonable care and skill.
Last modified: Tuesday, 5 June 2012, 12:03 PM