Marshall listed the different types of injury that can occur following the explosion of a bomb. The author is from Queen's University in Belfast, Northern Ireland.


Type of Injury


complete disruption (blown to bits)

carrying, sitting on, or otherwise in close contact with a large bomb

explosive injury (arm blown off)

incomplete disruption from the explosion with mangling and tearing of tissue

injury from masonry and falling debris

from collapsing walls and ceilings

injury from flying missiles

range from small particles that abrade the skin (see below) to large fragments that penetrate vital structures


range from singing and small burns associated with the explosion to severe burns from fires started by the explosion

blast injury

requires a large explosion to occur as an isolated finding; rarely important in small bombs; can result in bleeding into the lungs, air embolism and abdominal injury

unexplained deaths

person dies with no visible cause; possible explanations include air embolism, "vagal inhibition", and blast injury


Dermal injuries characteristic of an explosive device:

(1) triad of small discrete bruises, small abrasions and puncture lacerations

(2) tattooing of the skin from dust on exposed parts of the body facing the blast


It is important not to overlook gunshot or knife wounds that may be masked by burns or explosive injury.


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