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An Autopsy Case of a Pregnant Woman With Severe Placental and Fetal Damage From Domestic Violence

Kanawaku, Yoshimasa MD, PhD; Takahashi, Shirushi MD; Kanetake, Jun MD, PhD; Funayama, Masato MD, PhD

The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology: September 2015 - Volume 36 - Issue 3 - p 125–126
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0b013e318219c8bb
Case Report

We present an autopsy case of a pregnant woman who was a victim of domestic violence. The deceased showed injuries mainly to her head and abdomen. Postmortem examination revealed 1400 mL of abdominal hemorrhage, ablation of the perimetrium, placental avulsion, and intracranial hematoma. The cause of death was diagnosed as hemorrhagic shock. The uterus contained a fetus of 7 months’ gestational age. Fetal autopsy revealed laceration of the lungs, laceration and avulsion of the liver, and 15 mL of hemoperitoneum. Both placental and fetal injuries suggested repeated severe attacks to the abdomen, such as those expected to result from kicking or hitting.

From the *Department of Legal Medicine, Nippon Medical School, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo; †Division of Forensic Medicine, Department of Public Health and Forensic Medicine, Tohoku University School of Medicine, Sendai; and ‡Division of Forensic Medicine, National Defense Medical College, Tokorozawa, Japan.

Manuscript received June 16, 2008; accepted January 4, 2009.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Reprints: Yoshimasa Kanawaku, MD, PhD, Department of Legal Medicine, Nippon Medical School, 1-1-5, Sendagi, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, 113-8602, Japan. E-mail:

© 2015 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.