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This individual fell from a height in rough terrain, and the body was cut in half from the fall. Detruncation (hemicorporectomy or truncal transection), which is complete separation of the trunk below the shoulders and above the hips.

Fig.1 Detruncation after a fall from a height in rough terrain.

It can be quite difficult to determine whether an injury is fatal or to predict the outcome in a prehospital setting. In addition to the aforementioned definitive signs of death, there are several body states that are incompatible with life. Catastrophic injuries include decapitation (beheading), which is separation of the head from the trunk; massive destruction of the skull and brain, with loss of brain matter; detruncation, through major organs and vessels; and incineration (charring of all observable body surface). These are conditions in which resuscitative efforts should be withheld.

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