Medical Examiner Data

Unintentional Motor Vehicle Deaths  

Unintentional Poisoning Deaths  

Deaths from Injuries in Dallas County 1997-2013

Deaths, Injuries and Risk Factors in Dallas County 

 The IPC has established a good working relationship with the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences, which is the Medical Examiner’s Office (ME) for Dallas County. Since 1997, the ME’s Office has allowed IPC staff to access and collect non-identified data on deaths due to unintentional injuries, homicides and suicides. The IPC collects information on age, sex, race, manner of death, method of death, cause of death, and limited narrative information. The IPC now has an ME database of injury deaths in Dallas County from 1997-2014.The IPC analyzes the data for trends in injury deaths. If a trend is identified, the IPC seeks agreements with other data sources to obtain and link additional data to determine epidemiologic patterns. Examples of how the IPC has utilized ME data are described below. 

Pedestrian Injury Study
The IPC published results of a study of pedestrian deaths in Dallas County that indicated that expressways are the predominate site of fatal pedestrian crashes among young adults in Dallas (Istre, 2007).
  • Of pedestrian deaths to people 15-59 years of age, 50% occurred on expressways.
  • The proportion of pedestrian deaths that occurred on expressways was highest among 15-29 year olds. 
  • Over one-third (36%) of expressway-related pedestrian deaths were known to be “unintended pedestrians”- those who initially entered expressways in a vehicle, but exited the vehicle because it became disabled.  
Residential House Fire 
The IPC utilized the ME data in developing Operation Installation. In 1995, the IPC sought to define the factors associated with house fires and related injuries by analyzing the data from population-based surveillance. For 1991 through 1997, the IPC linked the following data for Dallas: records from the fire department of all house fires (including houses, apartments, and mobile homes), records of patients transported by ambulance, hospital admissions, and reports from the medical examiner of fatal injuries. Consistent with the results of other residential fire injury studies across the country, the IPC found increased rates of injury from housefires among blacks, the elderly, and those living in lowincomeareas of Dallas (Istre, 2001) .
The data was used to develop Operation Installation, which began in 1999. Neighborhoods were selected to participate in the program based on the number of fire-related injuries and deaths recorded in their census tract. Once a month, the Dallas Fire-Rescue and IPC organize volunteers who canvass the selected neighborhoods and install lithium battery powered smoke alarms in the homes. Smoke alarms are installed according to National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) guidelines, which include the sleeping areas and the kitchen area. The volunteers record the placement of the smoke alarms and assist in completing surveys with the residents.
The data gathered is used to evaluate the effectiveness of the project to prevent fire-related deaths and injuries in the selected areas.
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