Woman Killed By Her Rooster While Collecting Eggs
The death of a woman after a rooster pecked her is being used as a warning to other Australians.
The elderly woman, who was not identified out of respect for her family, died after being attacked while collecting eggs from a chicken coop on her rural South Australian property.
The rooster pecked the woman on the lower left leg, puncturing a varicose vein, leading to the wound bleeding out.
But the death was a tragic accident that could have possibly been prevented said Professor Roger Byard, from the University of Adelaide.
"It is possible if the woman had put her thumb over the hole and called for help she could have survived," he told 10 daily.
The case was published in the international journal Forensic Science, Medicine and Pathology, as part of a study on how to identify wounds from small animals during an autopsy.
"This case demonstrates that even relatively small domestic animals may be able to inflict lethal injuries in individuals if there are specific vascular vulnerabilities present," the journal said.
Byard explained varicose veins are easily damaged, and a hole the size of a match head can be big enough for someone to bleed to death.
"Most people wouldn't think about a small cut, but for someone with varicose veins it can be potentially lethal," he said.
For 30 years, forensic expert Byard has researched accidental deaths and how they could have been prevented. The deaths Byard and his team research are "unique" and rare events, much like this rooster attack.
While this death is tragic and rare, Byard said it serves as a reminder of the dangers varicose veins can pose if damaged.
"If you knock them, put pressure on the wound, elevate and call for help," he said.
The elderly are a particularly vulnerable demographic, especially if the person lives alone or is dementing, as they may not know what to do if they damage the fragile veins.
Varicose veins form when valves in the vein stop working, allowing blood to pool. As the blood pools, the veins become enlarged and are closer to the surface of the skin. A small knock to these can lead to profuse bleeding, and in some cases death.
Approximately 40 percent of the population suffer from varicose veins, according to the study.
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Byard said it is not known how many deaths are the result of injuries like this case as they are often not reported, particularly from small animals.
A woman in the U.K. died recently after a cat scratched her leg, leading her to bleed out in similar fashion to the South Australian woman.
Varicose veins are a condition that can be easily treated by a medical professional.