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September 1, 1934


Author Affiliations

From the office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Essex County (Newark), N. J., and the Department of Forensic Medicine, New York University, University and Bellevue Hospital Medical College.

JAMA. 1934;103(9):643-648. doi:10.1001/jama.1934.02750350007003

Highway accidents and asphyxiations from carbon monoxide greatly exceed all other forms of violent death and the investigation of such deaths constitutes a very large and important part of the medical examiner's work.

It is now a well known fact that in the United States the automobile causes about 30,000 deaths a year and injures close to a million, with a resultant cost of many billion dollars per year. Furthermore, in the last five years little has been accomplished in the prevention of such accidents.

The total number of deaths from carbon monoxide is more difficult to estimate, since, in many localities, bureaus of vital statistics and departments of health separate suicidal from accidental asphyxiations. Further, the very low ebb to which forensic medicine has sunk in this country, owing to an ancient, politically bad coroner's system, renders investigations inaccurate and often of no value.

It may be roughly assumed,

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