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Acid violence in Cambodia: The human, medical and surgical implications

DOI: 10.1016/j.burns.2014.04.012
  • Acid Attack
  • Acid Burn
  • Cambodia
  • Acid Violence
  • Legal
  • Gender Crime
  • Surgical Burden
  • Law
  • Medicine


Abstract Introduction Acid violence is the deliberate use of acid to attack another human being. Such attacks leave a terrible human, medical and surgical legacy. This study, from one of the largest cohorts of acid attack victims to date, provides insights into Cambodia's unique demographics of such attacks, as well as the human cost and necessary surgical interventions. Methods A retrospective cohort consisting of all patients presenting to the Children's Surgical Centre, Phnom Penh with acid burns from 1 January 2000 to 1 January 2013 was identified and information retrieved from their hospital records. Results 254 patients were identified. Males and females were almost equally likely to be victims of an acid attack (48.4% and 51.6% respectively). There was no significant association between victim and assailant gender (p=0.475). The face (78.0%), neck (51.5%) and chest (49.0%) were the most frequently affected body areas. The median total surface body area affected by acid burns was 7.0%. The mortality rate from acid assault was 2.0%. Patients required an average of 2.0 operations, ranging from 0 to 18. Conclusions Acid violence in Cambodia has a complex demographic which is different to many other developing countries and requires more investigation. Tougher legislation is required to reduce the incidence of these horrific crimes.

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