The aim of this study was to determine the differences in the anatomical site of a gunshot entrance wound and the direction of the bullet path between right- and left-handed subjects who committed a suicide by a single gunshot injury to the head. The retrospective autopsy study was performed for a 10-year period, and it included selected cases of single suicidal gunshot head injury, committed by handguns. We considered only contact or near-contact wounds. The sample included 479 deceased, with average age 47.1 ± 19.1 years (range, 12–89 years): 432 males and 47 females, with 317 right-handed, 25 left-handed, and 137 subjects with unknown dominant hand. In our observed sample, most cases involved the right temple as the site of entrance gunshot wound (about 67%), followed by the mouth (16%), forehead (7%), left temple (6%), submental (2%), and parietal region (1%). The left temple, right temple, and forehead were the sites of the gunshot entrance wounds, which were the best predictors of the handedness of the deceased (Spearman ρ = 0.149, P = 0.006). Our study showed that the direction of the bullet intracranial path in cases of suicide was even a more potent predictor of the handedness of the deceased (Spearman ρ = 0.263, P = 0.000; Wald = 149.503, P = 0.000).
From the Institutes of *Forensic Medicine, †Medical Statistics and Informatics, University of Belgrade - School of Medicine, Belgrade; and ‡Department ofForensic Medicine, County Hospital of the City of Novi Pazar, Novi Pazar, Serbia.
Manuscript received February 28, 2010; accepted May 7, 2010.
This study was supported by Ministry of Education and Science of Republic of Serbia, Grant No. 45005.
The authors report no conflict of interest.
Reprints: Slobodan Nikolić, MD, PhD, Institute of Forensic Medicine, 31a Deligradska Str., 11000 Belgrade, Serbia. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org;email@example.com.