Category: Local News

Las Vegas, Nevada - Now a three-year trend, suicides and prescription drug overdoses continue to be the leading causes of death in cases investigated by the San Diego County Medical Examiner. Meanwhile, homicide numbers fell for the first time in two years.

The Medical Examiner’s Office released its 2013 Annual Report today, which reflects data on the nearly 10,000 deaths in the County reported to them last year.  This represents half of the approximately 20,000 deaths that occur yearly in the County.  The report focuses on the 2,974 deaths in which they took jurisdiction, a number that includes all of the non-natural deaths in the County as well as certain natural deaths.

“One of the main reasons our office compiles this report is to help identify patterns and trends for various deaths, many of which are preventable,” said Chief Deputy Medical Examiner Dr. Jonathan Lucas. “This data is useful to identify issues that may need additional resources. The data may also show whether prevention education efforts are working to address previously identified problems.”

The office performed autopsies on 1,955 of the cases, and 1,019 cases were given external examinations. The Medical Examiner’s Office only investigates about 5 percent of natural deaths in the county.  This subset of natural deaths tends to be younger individuals and more sudden and unexpected than most of the natural deaths in the county.

In San Diego County, 45 percent or 1,327 deaths were accidental; 36 percent or 1,068 were natural deaths; 15 percent or 441 were suicides; 3.3 percent or 88 were homicides; and in 1.3 percent or 40 cases, the manner of death could not be determined.

Other findings in the 2013 cases include:

The Medical Examiner’s Office notes that many of the deaths could have been prevented and urge people to seek out help in a crisis. The following resources are available: