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NCJ Number: 68924 Find in a Library
Title: FORENSIC PATHOLOGY (FROM INTRODUCTION TO FORENSIC SCIENCES, P 67-78, 1980, BY WILLIAM G ECKERT - SEE NCJ-71044)
Author(s): B KNIGHT
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 12
Sponsoring Agency: C V Mosby Co
St Louis, MO 63141
Sale Source: C V Mosby Co
11836 Westline Industrial Drive
St Louis, MO 63141
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE ROLE OF THE FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST IS EXPLORED IN THIS CHAPTER FROM 'INTRODUCTION TO FORENSIC SCIENCES'; ATTENDANCE AT THE SCENE OF DEATH AND AUTOPSY PROCEDURES ARE DISCUSSED.
Abstract: PATHOLOGY IS A BRANCH OF MEDICINE CONCERNED WITH DISEASE OR INJURY FROM THE CAUSATIVE ASPECT RATHER THAN WITH DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT. ALTHOUGH MOST PATHOLOGISTS STUDY THE MORPHOLOGY AND CAUSATION OF DISEASE, A SMALL SUBGROUP OF THE DISCIPLINE ARE FORENSIC PATHOLOGISTS, PRACTITIONERS OF LEGAL PATHOLOGY WHOSE MAIN CONCERN IS THE PATHOLOGY OF INJURY. THE PRIMARY FUNCTION OF FORENSIC PATHOLOGISTS IS THE EXAMINATION OF DEAD BODIES. UNDER THE CORONER SYSTEM, POLICE INVESTIGATORS CALL UPON PRIVATE CLINICAL PATHOLOGISTS TO PERFORM FORENSIC MEDICAL EXAMINATIONS OF SUSPICIOUS DEATHS. UNDER THE MEDICAL EXAMINER SYSTEM, PERMANENT MEDICOLEGAL OFFICERS ON THE INVESTIGATIVE STAFF PERFORM THESE DUTIES. CORONERS OR MEDICAL EXAMINERS ARE CALLED WHENEVER ATTENDING PHYSICIANS CANNOT ACCURATELY DETERMINE THE CAUSE OF DEATH. WHEN SUDDEN, UNEXPECTED, SUSPICIOUS, OR CRIMINAL DEATHS OCCUR, MEDICAL EXAMINERS OR CORONERS WILL BE CALLED TO THE SCENE. WHERE THE MEDICAL EXAMINER SYSTEM DOES NOT EXIST, A PATHOLOGIST'S ATTENDANCE AT THE DEATH SCENE DEPENDS ON THE SUSPICION INDEX OF THE POLICE, AND VARIES CONSIDERABLY BETWEEN JURISDICTIONS. PATHOLOGISTS FREQUENTLY SUPERVISE TRANSPORTATION OF THE BODY FROM THE SCENE TO THE AUTOPSY FACILITY. A FULL AUTOPSY SHOULD BE PERFORMED TO DETERMINE THE CAUSE OF DEATH, EXTENT OF INJURIES, PRESENCE OF NATURAL DISEASE, AND CHRONOLOGY OF THESE PROCESSES. EXAMINATION OF THE BODY SURFACE FOLLOWS CONFIRMATION OF THE VICTIM'S IDENTITY WHENEVER IDENTIFICATION IS POSSIBLE. BODY HEIGHT, WEIGHT, PHYSIQUE, AND NUTRITION ARE EVALUATED; RECENT AND OLD INJURIES ARE NOTED; BODY STIFFNESS IS EVALUATED TO DETERMINE THE TIME OF DEATH. THE INTERNAL AUTOPSY INVOLVES EXAMINATION OF THE ORGANS AND THE MUSCULOSKETELETAL SYSTEM AND TAKING BODY FLUID SAMPLES. SAMPLES FOR FURTHER LABORATORY ANALYSIS ARE ALSO FREQUENTLY TAKEN OF STOMACH CONTENTS, HAIR, AND SKIN. AUTOPSY REPORTS MUST BE ACCURATE, COMPLETE, AND BASED ENTIRELY UPON FACTS AND LOGICAL CONCLUSIONS.
Index Term(s): Autopsy; Coroners; Criminal investigation; Evidence identification; Expert witnesses; Forensic medicine; Medicolegal considerations; Time of death determination
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=68924

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