Traumatic asphyxia???fatal accident in an automatic revolving door

  • Cortis J
  • Falk J
  • Rothschild M
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Abstract

Due to continuing modernisation, the number of automatic doors in routine use, including powered revolving doors, has increased in recent years. Automatic revolving doors are found mostly in department stores, airports, railway stations and hospitals. Although safety arrangements and guidelines concerning the installation of automatic doors are in existence, their disregard in conjunction with obsolete or incorrect installation can lead to fatal accidents. In this report, a 19-month-old boy is described whose right arm was caught between the elements of an automatic revolving door. As a direct result of rescue attempts, the child's body was drawn further into the narrow gap between elements of the door. To get the boy's body out of the 4-cm-wide gap between the fixed outer wall of the revolving door and the revolving inner, back-up batteries had to be disconnected so as to stop the electrical motor powering the door. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation was begun immediately after the rescue but was unsuccessful; the child was declared dead at the hospital he was taken to. The cause of death was a combination of compression-related skull and brain injury together with thoracic compression. This case shows an outstanding example of the preventive aspect as a special task of forensic medicine. Additionally, it serves as a warning for the correct installation and use of automatic revolving doors. Even so, small children should not use these doors on their own, but only with an alert companion, so as to prevent further fatal accidents of this sort.;

Author-supplied keywords

  • Automatic revolving door
  • Perthes syndrome
  • Thoracic compression
  • Traumatic asphyxia

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Authors

  • J. Cortis

  • J. Falk

  • M. A. Rothschild

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