Suicides by Jumping Off Istanbul Bridges Linking Asia and Europe

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Abstract

Aim

The aim of this study was to determine the injury spectrum and characteristics of people who committed suicide by jumping into water from the July 15th Martyrs Bridge and Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridges in Istanbul, Turkey.

Methods

This study included all of the jumpers from the July 15th Martyrs Bridge and Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge who were autopsied by the Council of Forensic Medicine, Istanbul Morgue Department, between 2000 and 2013. All of the data were collected from archived case files. Trauma scores were calculated from the traumatic findings of the autopsy reports using the New Injury Severity Score (NISS).

Results

A total of 80 jumping suicides were identified. The male-to-female ratio was 9:1, and the mean age was 34.06 ± 9.6 years. Most suicides occurred in 2009. The suicide rates were higher in the winter, particularly in December. The most frequent injuries were skin lesions, rib fractures, and lung lacerations. In 12% of the cases, the trauma was minor (NISS range, 0–14; mean, 7 ± 5.67), and in 88% of the cases, it was major (NISS range, 17–66; mean NISS, 44.5 ± 12.46).

Conclusion

The sociodemographic features of the jumpers who committed suicide were quite similar to those reported in previous studies. Preventative measures (installation of barriers or banning pedestrian access to bridges) reduced the suicide rate but were not completely effective. Establishing early warning systems and rescue strategies could save the lives of jumpers who have minor trauma.

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