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Deaths among the homeless in Fulton County, GA, 1988-90.

  • R Hanzlick
  • R G Parrish
Publication Date
Jan 01, 1993


The circumstances surrounding the deaths of 128 homeless persons investigated by the Fulton County, GA, Medical Examiner's Office during the period 1988-90 and the demographic characteristics of the deceased were studied and analyzed. Emphasis was placed on cause and manner of death, unintentional injuries, and alcohol-related mortality. Ninety-eight percent of those who died were men, 55 percent occurred outdoors, 55 percent were due to natural causes, and 42 percent resulted from injuries, most of which were unintentional. The average age at death was 46 years, and 80 percent of those who died were found dead. Nearly half of the deaths (47 percent) were related to the acute or chronic effects of alcohol; the blood of 45 percent tested positive for ethanol; of that 45 percent, 75 percent had a blood ethanol concentration that exceeded 0.1 grams per deciliter. Mortality patterns among the homeless persons in the study were similar to those previously reported in Fulton County and in San Francisco, CA. Available data indicate that mortality prevention strategies for the homeless in Fulton County should target alcohol abuse and unintentional injuries. Further studies are needed to document regional mortality patterns of the homeless.

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