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Suicide by Detonation of Intraoral Firecracker

Case Report and Review of the Literature

Hlavaty, Leigh, MD; Kasper, William; Sung, LokMan, MD

The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology: March 2019 - Volume 40 - Issue 1 - p 49–51
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0000000000000441
Case Reports

Celebratory use of fireworks has been an integral part of human civilization for over millennia. While the majority of firework use is festive, their explosive nature can result in traumatic injuries and death. The authors present the death of a 21-year-old man found unresponsive on the floor of his parent's garage with extensive damage to his head after an explosion was heard. Firearms could not be found, but there were unexploded homemade and commercially produced firecrackers and components for the manufacture of additional firecrackers. The radial expansion of the blast wave formed by the intraoral explosion of a firecracker created injuries matching those of an intraoral shotgun wound.

From the Department of Pathology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; and the Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office, Detroit, MI.

Manuscript received July 25, 2018; accepted September 4, 2018.

The authors report no conflict of interest.

Reprints: Leigh Hlavaty, MD, Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office, 1300 E Warren Ave, Detroit, MI 48207. E-mail:

© 2019 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.