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Collateral Damage-Penetrating Head Injury and Orbital Injury: A Case Report

Deyle, Simone MD*†; Exadaktylos, Aristomenis K. MD*; Kneubuehl, Beat P. Dr Sc Forens; Buck, Ursula; Thali, Michael J. MD; Voisard, Matthias X. MD

The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology: September 2011 - Volume 32 - Issue 3 - p 215-218
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0b013e318219c863
Case Reports

We report a case of an accidental death or potential suicide by revolver with subsequent injury of another person. A 44-year-old man shot himself in the head while manipulating his.38 caliber special revolver in the kitchen in the presence of his wife, standing approximately 1.5 m next to him. After passing through the husband's head, the lead round-nose bullet entered the region underneath his wife's left eye. When the bullet left the man's head, it retained the energy to penetrate the soft tissue at this distance, including the skin and thin bone plates like the orbital wall. Owing to the low energy of the projectile, the entry wound was of atypical in shape and without loss of tissue. Only a small line-resembling a cut-was externally visible. The man died in the hospital from his injuries; his wife suffered visual loss of her left eye.

From the *Department of Emergency Medicine, Bern University Hospital, Bern; †Department of Vascular Surgery, Cantonal Hospital Lucerne, Lucerne; and ‡Institute of Forensic Medicine, Bern University, Bern, Switzerland.

Manuscript received June 3, 2008; accepted March 18, 2009.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Reprints: Simone Deyle, MD, Department of Vascular Surgery, Cantonal Hospital Lucerne, 6000 Lucerne, Switzerland. E-mail:

© 2011 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.