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On The Autopsy Table; Girl Suicide by Hanging

May 11, 2016
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Suicide by hanging is the act of intentionally killing oneself via suspension from an anchor-point or ligature point (e.g. an overhead beam or hook) by a ligature or by jumping from a height with a noose around the neck.

Hanging is often considered to be a simple suicide method that does not require complicated techniques. However, a study of people who attempted suicide by hanging and lived suggests that this perception needs to be challenged. It is one of the most commonly used suicide methods and has a high mortality rate; Gunnell et al. gives a figure of at least 70 percent. The materials required are easily available, and a wide range of ligatures can be used. Therefore, it is considered a difficult method to prevent. In the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, suicides by hanging are classified under the code X70: “Intentional self-harm by hanging, strangulation, and suffocation.”

Hanging is divided into suspension hanging and the much rarer drop hanging; this method can kill in various ways. Suicide attempters who survive, because the cord or ligature point breaks, or because they are discovered and cut down face a range of serious injuries, including cerebral anoxia (which can lead to permanent brain damage), laryngeal fracture, cervical spine fracture, tracheal fracture, pharyngeal laceration, and carotid artery injury. Ron M. Brown writes that hanging has a “fairly imperspicuous and complicated symbolic history”. There are commentaries on hanging in antiquity, and it has various cultural interpretations. Throughout history, numerous famous people have committed suicide by hanging.

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