Escoffery, Carlos T.; Shirley, Suzanne E.
Author Affiliation, Ana.
Department of Pathology
Fatal Poisoning in Jamaica: A Coroner's Autopsy Study from the University Hospital of the West Indies
Medical Science Law
Date of Publication
This study reviewed cases of fatal poisoning in a coroner's autopsy series at the University Hospital of the West Indies and represented the first such study reported from Jamaica. The autopsy protocols of all coroner's autopsies performed over the 20-year period January 1980 to December 1999 were reviewed retrospectively; 22 (1.0%) cases were identified and relevant clinical and pathological data analysed. There were 13 males and nine females (M:F ratio 1.4:1) with an age range of 2 - 69 years (mean +/- SD = 27 +/- 16.1 years). The 20 - 29 year group was most commonly affected and five patients (22.7%) were children (< 18 years of age). Pesticides (herbicides/ insecticides) were implicated in nine (41%) cases: paraquat was the most common, found in six (27%) cases. Prescription drugs were the next most prevalent group with six (27%) cases, followed by anti-psychotic drugs in four (18%) cases. Cocaine and ackee were each implicated in two (9%) cases. The manner of death was suicidal in 14 (64%) cases and accidental in eight (36%) cases. Seven patients had documented psychiatric illnesses, six of whom committed suicide. Autopsy findings were largely non-specific. The relatively small number of cases was consistent with the low incidence of fatal poisoning in Jamaica.....