To the Editor: Deaths resulting from hypothermia are not limited to colder climates or to the winter months, and have previously been highlighted as a public health problem in temperate regions in Australia.1 We recently reported the details of a hypothermic death in a home in South Australia, and raised concerns about the contribution of poor domestic energy efficiency to such fatalities.2
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Lethal hypothermia in South Australia
Fiona Bright, Calle Winskog and Roger W Byard
Med J Aust 2012; 197 (11): 622.
Fiona Bright, Honours Student, Health Sciences
Calle Winskog, Associate Professor of Pathology
Roger W Byard, Professor of Pathology
Lim C, Duflou J. Hypothermia fatalities in a temperate climate: Sydney, Australia. Pathology 2008; 40: 46-51.
Bright F, Gilbert JD, Winskog C, Byard RW. Additional risk factors for lethal hypothermia. J Clin Forensic Med 2012. In press.
Byard RW, Tsokos M. Forensic issues in cases of Diogenes syndrome. Am J Forensic Med Pathol 2007; 28: 177-181.
Australian Bureau of Statistics. Energy in focus: energy efficiency of Australian homes, April 2010. Canberra: ABS, 2010. (ABS Cat. No. 4614.0.55.002.) http://www.abs.gov.au (accessed Sep 2012).
Willrath H. Thermal sensitivity of Australian houses to variations in building parameters. (Paper 67.) Proceedings of Solar ‘97, Australian and New Zealand Solar Energy Society; 1997 Dec 1-3; Canberra. http://www.solarlogic.com.au/profile/Thermal%20sensitivity.pdf (accessed Oct 2012).
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