grevious injuries : medico – Legal aspects

INTRODUCTION

The legal term hurt refers to any person’s bodily suffering, injury, or wound, as well as disease or infirmity. Common types of injury or harm include abrasion, bruising, laceration, fracture, dislocation, incised wound, stab wound, puncture, piercing wound, pistol wound, bomb blast wound, burn, and scald. Blunt, sharp, and pointed weapons, firearms, explosions, heat, electricity, and corrosives are all examples of weapons or means used to cause harm. Hurts are classified as either serious or simple for legal purposes. There are eight different types of severe pain. When reporting injury cases, the clinical state of the victim is noted along with a detailed description of the wounds, as well as an opinion on their legal status, such as whether the injury is grievous or minor, the age of the injury, the type of weapon or means used to cause the injury, whether the injury was inflicted by others or self-inflicted, and so on. These aid the court’s decision-making process. There are laws that describe the sections, numbers, categories, and punishments for certain crimes.

In this article, I have discussed the types of injuries, nature of injury, and various legal aspects which go with certain injuries. First, I have talked about types of injuries. Second chapter, I have laid more emphasis on the project matter in hand namely grievous injuries and its medico-legal aspects.

TYPES OF INJURY AND ITS MEDICO LEGAL ASPECTS

An injury is defined as the break in the natural continuity of any of the live body’s tissues. Injury is defined as any harm caused illegally to a person’s body, mind, reputation, or property, according to Section 44 of the Indian Penal Code.

Injuries can be classified in a variety of ways. Mechanical and thermal injuries are the two types of injuries classified under the etiological classification. Abrasions, contusions, lacerations, stab injuries, incised wounds, and firearm injuries are the different types of mechanical injuries. Burns and scalds, frostbite, chemical burns, radial burns, and electric burns are all types of thermal injuries.

Medico-legal classification is based on three grounds: severity, mode of death and moment of death. Injuries based on severity: simple and grievous injuries

Based on mode of death: suicidal, homicidal and accidental injuries

Based on moment of death: ante-mortem and postmortem.

Sharp edged weapons cause incised injuries, which feature a distinct cut separation of tissues. The injury’s length is bigger than its depth. The following are the medico-legal implications of incised wounds: 

1. The weapon’s type can be verified to be sharp edged.

2. It was feasible to determine the age of the injury.

3. The wound’s tail can be used to determine the direction of application force.

4. Homicidal incised wounds are very common.

Abrasion injuries are blunt force injuries that cause the epidermis’ surface layers to be destroyed. A pure abrasion is a two-dimensional injury that rarely bleeds. The following are the medico-legal implications:

1. The injury’s age can be identified.

2. Pattern abrasion can assist us figure out what kind of weapon was used.

3. Abrasions on the suspect’s face may indicate a struggle.

4. Suicidal abrasions are uncommon. They’re frequently observed in traffic accidents and killings.

Lacerations occur when the skin, mucous membranes, or internal organs rip or split. A blunt impact to the bodily tissue or skin causes this. Lacerations are three-dimensional, with uneven and irregular edges. The medico-legal aspects are as follows:

1. The shape of the blunt weapon can be determined by these injuries.

2. Age determination in non-infected lacerations is really beneficial.

3. Foreign bodies discovered in the wound site may aid in the reconstruction of the circumstances surrounding the incident.

4. Accidents and attacks are common causes of these wounds.

5. Lacerations are commonly regarded as serious injuries.

Stab wounds are mechanical injuries in which the depth is the most significant parameter in comparison to the length and width. Knives, daggers, and swords can all be used to make them. The following are the medico-legal aspects of such wounds:

1. The majority of stab wounds are homicidal or suicidal. Accidental wounds are quite rare.

2. The penetration force is determined by the depth of the wound.

3. The injury’s age can be estimated.

4. The shape of the wound aids in determining the weapon’s type and class. The length, width, and thickness of the weapon, as well as whether it is single-edged or double-edged, are all factors considered.

Burn injuries are caused by the application of dry heat to the body, such as flame, fire, or radiation. The following are medical and legal elements of this type of injury:

1. The presence of smoke in the victim’s respiratory passage suggests that he or she was alive when the fire began.

2. Increased blood carboxy-haemoglobin levels. Frequently, the percentage exceeds 10%.

3. The presence of a red line in the vicinity of the burns.

A contusion is a blood effusion into tissue caused by the rupture of arteries, particularly capillaries. Blunt force trauma is the cause of these injuries.

1. Self-inflicted bruises are uncommon.

2. Contusions might be intentional, suicidal, or unintentional.

3. The bruise’s shape and size are similar to the weapon’s nature.

4. The injury’s age can be identified.

Both the entrance and exit wounds are included in firearm wounds. The shape and size of the wounds varies based on the shooting range, projectile velocity, and target location. The following are medical and legal issues of gunshot injuries:

1. Due to cadaveric spasm, the firearm in the victim’s hands generally indicates suicidal firearm wounds.

2. Accidental firearm injuries are quite uncommon.

3. The firearm’s nature can be established. For example, if it’s a smooth bore or a rifled rifle.

4. Suicidal or homicidal injuries are very common.

5. The shooting range and direction can be determined.

When an electric current flows through the body, it causes muscle spasms, contact burns, and severe charring, among other things. The following are some of the medical and legal consequences of electrocution:

1. Suicidal electrocution is uncommon, although it can happen to those who are mentally ill.

2. Homicidal electrocutions are becoming more common. Accidental electrocution is a common occurrence.

For example, a circuit may pass via any of the limbs and into the head, paralysing the respiratory centre.

3. Deposition of metal particles on the skin can be used to diagnose the entrance site histochemically.

4. An arm to arm circuit or left arm to either leg involves heart. Death occurs due to ventricular fibrillation or cardiac arrest without fibrillation.

GRIEVOUS INJURIES: MEDICO-LEGAL ASPECTS

Simple injury or harm causes bodily pain, disease, or disability in anyone for a brief length of time and does not put their lives in jeopardy. Certain situations, as listed in Section 320 of the IPC, on the other hand, inflict serious harm.

Hurt and injury are comparable in many ways, however hurt is defined under section 319 of the IPC, whereas injury is defined by section 44 of the IPC. In the IPC, the term “injury” refers to bodily pain, disease, or infirmity that is caused to another person. Legally and medically, injury is defined. According to Section 44 of the Indian Penal Code, injury is defined as any harm, whether intentional or unintentional, caused to any person’s body, mind, reputation, or property. In medical terms, an injury or harm refers to any physical harm (trauma) that causes structural changes in a person’s body.

It is divided into two categories based on the severity (legally) of the injury: basic and serious.

A grievous injury is one-

1. Which is extensive or serious

2. Which does not heal rapidly and

3. Which leaves a permanent deformity or disfiguration

Sec.320 IPC defined the Grievous hurt and there are eight clauses in the definition of grievous hurt. Clause has further 3 sub clauses.

Emasculation –

Deprivation of a male of his masculine vigor by castration or by causing injury to testes or spinal cord at the level of L2-L4 vertebrae resulting in impotence. It covers both sterility and potency in a male impotency caused must be permanent for injury to be called grievous.

-Only male castration comes under this clause. Female castration can however be a grievous hurt under clause 4 or 8.

-If only one testis gets damaged or removed and other testis with intact male organ is present then it is not considered as emasculation. However, it is still a grievous hurt under clause 4, which is, privation of any member or joint.

-Erectile dysfunction may occur following treatment for lower limb fractures (due to perineal neurovascular fraction injury) and spinal cord injury with complete upper/lower motor lesions.

Permanant privation of the sight of either eye –

Privation means even partial loss of sight operation interference is not to be taken into account. eg – 1. Retinal detachment.

2. Gouging out eyes

3. Dislocationof lens

4. Optic disk laceration

Permanent privation of healing of either ear-

It should be permanent deafness it can be due to blow on the head or ear ossicles or auditory nerves, or injury by foreign body. it may be noted that tympanic membrane perforation may heal spontaneously.

Privation of any membrane or joint –

A membrane is any part of the body, which is capable of performing a distinct function, and is not able to regrow, hands, feets, are members. But not nails and hairs, joint may be both small or big ones.

Destruction or permanent impairing of the power of any membrane or joint:

Use of limbs and joints are vital for discharge of normal functions of the body.

  1. It includes cutting (severing) of any tendon, anywhere along its route—at its origin, in between or at its insertion. If it is not repaired, its function is permanently lost. This may cause deformity, loss of movement and weakness.
  2. It is not necessary that destruction or loss of power should be 100%, e.g. contracture caused by burns involving joint.

Permanent Disfiguration of The Head or Face

‘Disfiguration’ means change of configuration and personal appearance of the subject by some external injury which does not weaken him/her.

  1. A person is ‘disfigured’ when a reasonable observer would find the altered appearance distressing or objectionable.
  2. For example, chopping off an individual’s ear or nose which would cause disfigurement, without consequential disability, so as to constitute grievous hurt under this clause.
  3. A large cut on the face or branding may leave a permanent scar causing disfigurement.
  4. Permanent disfiguration is seen when injuries to the eyes leave residual defects after healing like ptosis, entropion or squint.
  5. Opinion of disfigurement should be given after complete healing, since the doctor can judge whether disability is permanent or not.

Fracture or dislocation of a bone or tooth – Ex. 1. cut on a bone is fracture and thus GH. 2. Dislocation of shoulder – Grievous hurt, because dislocation of a bone occurs. It is also a rare example of grievous hurt which is can be corrected within minutes.

  1. Any hurt which-

a) Endangers life.

b) Causes the victim to be in severe bodily pain for 20 days.

c) Unable the victim to follow his ordinary pursuits for a period of 20 days.

  • Any hurt which endangers life’ means that the life is only endangered and not taken away, i.e. placing a person in danger of death.
  • A mere stay in hospital for 20 days will not constitute grievous hurt.
  • Ordinary pursuits signify day-to-day personal acts of an individual, like going to the toilet, having food or taking bath or wearing clothes. It does not include going to work, running, jumping or driving a vehicle.

Dangerous injury has not been defined in the IPC. Dangerous injuries are those which cause imminent danger to life by its direct or imminent effects because of being extensive in nature, involving important structures or organs of the body, and also being likely to prove fatal in absence of medical/ surgical aid. Any tear in dura mater, intracerebral hemorrhages, cerebral edema, laceration of lungs resulting in hemothorax, rupture/perforation of GIT, any rupture of large arteries/veins are examples of dangerous injuries.

  • The courts at times have considered an injury described as dangerous to life as an injury envisaged in clause 8 of Sec. 320 IPC (injury which endangers life).
  • It is recommended that the medical expert should desist from differentiating injuries endangering life and dangerous injuries.

Dangerous weapon or means:  

Any weapon capable of shooting, stabbing, or cutting, or any weapon capable of causing death if used as a weapon of war; or by means of fire or any heated substance, poison or any corrosive substance, explosive, or any substance harmful to the human body to inhale, swallow, or receive into the blood; or by means of any animal (Sec.324 and 326 IPC).

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  1. https://epathshala.nic.in
  2. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/2695204_Medicolegal_Aspects_of_Hurt_Injury_and_Wound
  3. https://www.slideshare.net/AkshayDeokar3/injury-forensic-science
  4. Fundamentals Of Forensic Science Paperback – 1 January 2020 By Manjugouda R Patil (Author), Dr.C.F.Mulimani (Author)

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

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