Craniocerebral Trauma Inflicted by Television Falls


  • Presented at the 61st Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, February 16–21, 2009 in Denver, CO.

Additional information and reprint requests:
Amy C. Gruszecki, D.O.
American Forensics
PO Box 550846
Dallas, TX 75355


Abstract:  Accidents and inflicted trauma account for 33% and 5–8% of childhood deaths, respectively. Injuries secondary to falling televisions have been reported in the clinical literature. However, descriptions of such injuries at autopsy are limited. The severity and patterns of injury may mimic those considered ‘‘typical’’ of inflicted trauma. Thus, integration of data from clinical, scene investigation, and autopsy is necessary for determination of the cause and manner of death. We present autopsy findings from two cases which illustrate injuries sustained from falling televisions. Findings common to both cases include subscalpular hemorrhages, skull fractures, subdural hemorrhages, brain injuries, and optic nerve sheath hemorrhages. The first case showed postsurgical changes secondary to evacuation of a posterior fossa hematoma; three-dimensional reconstruction of the admission computed tomography scan demonstrated the extent of the preintervention skull fractures. In addition, the second case showed a right epidural hematoma. Only case two showed retinal hemorrhage.