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Journal Article


Bohnert M, Pollak S. Arch. Kriminol. 2004; 213(5-6): 138-153.

Vernacular Title

Kombinierte Suizide--eine Literaturubersicht.


Institut fur Rechtsmedizin der Universitat Freiburg i. Br.


(Copyright © 2004, Verlag Schmidt-Romhild)






The term "complex suicide" stands for suicides committed by using more than one method. A distinction can be made between planned and unplanned complex suicides (primary/secondary combinations). In planned complex suicides 2 or more methods are applied simultaneously in order to make sure that death will occur even if one method fails. In unplanned complex suicides the mode of performance is changed after the first method chosen failed or was working too slow or proved to be too painful. In planned complex suicides typically two of the generally common methods of suicide (e.g. ingestion of medicines, hanging, use of firearms, drowning, fall from a height) are combined. But also unusual combinations have been described such as the simultaneous firing of two guns, self-immolation in combination with other suicide methods or shooting oneself while driving a car. In unplanned complex suicides self-inflicted injuries by sharp force, especially cuts of the wrists, are often found as the primary act of suicide. In some cases the suicide switches from cuts to stabs (mostly to the heart region). Other methods often used after the first phase of suicide are hanging and jump from a height. In the literature the use of up to 5 suicidal methods applied one after the other have been described.


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