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February 1990

Adult Assault as a Mechanism of Burn Injury

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, and Parkland Memorial Hospital, Dallas.

Arch Surg. 1990;125(2):268-269. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1990.01410140146026

• Assault by burning is an often unappreciated cause of burn injury. One hundred forty-eight of 3678 adults admitted to a major burn center with acute burn injuries sustained their burns as a result of an assault by another adult. High-risk groups included blacks and alcohol abusers. Patients were extremely reluctant to describe the cause of their injury and to identify their assailant. In contrast to child abuse, very few cases go to court due to the patient's failure to press charges. There was no typical burn pattern, although the injury often did not coincide with the initial medical history. The presence of multiple trauma, occurring in 16% of these patients, must be excluded in the assaulted patient.

(Arch Surg. 1990;125:268-269)