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Forensic Pathology

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Pathology is the medical specialty concerned with examining body
tissues and fluids to contribute to the diagnosis of disease. There are
two types of pathology, anatomic and clinical. So what does forensics
have to do with pathology? What is ? A forensic
pathologist is a specialized branch of pathology. A forensic pathologist
is a central figure in the forensic investigations of crimes involving
victims. Their main objective is to determine the cause of death in
homicide cases, cases of suspicious death where there is doubt of natural
death, accident, murder, or suicide, and in mass disasters.

The medical examiners office may be called upon a crime scene by
request of police or homicide detectives. The medical examiners office
usually sends a field examiner to the scene of a crime. At the scene many
preliminary examinations are used to aid in determination of cause of
death. Some of these include the following: pronounce victim(s) dead,
look for external injuries, stage of rigor mortis, take body temperature
to determine time of death, examine area around body, determine how and
when the body will be moved, and make preliminary sketches and notes.

There are numerous ways a person can die. A forensic
pathologist's main role is to figure out how a victim died. First they
look at the proximate cause of death. That is the initial injury that led
to a sequence of events which caused the death of the victim. Second they
look at immediate cause of death. That is the injury or disease that
finally killed the individual. Next they look for the mechanism of death,
which is the altered physiology by which a disease or injury produces
death. And finally they look at the manner of death. There are four
manners of death. They include homicide, which someone else caused the
victims death, whether by intention or criminal negligence. Suicide, in
which the victim causes his or her own death. Accidental, in which an
individual or individuals fall victim to a hostile environment. Finally
natural causes, where the victim dies in absence of reasonably considered
hostile to human life (Uthman, 1998).

There are many normal postmortem changes that take place after
death. Forensic pathologist's have to be able to be familiar with these
because they could be misleading. Rigor mortis begins earlier in small
muscles exercised vigorously right after death. Rigor mortis passes after
about thirty-six hours. That is when muscle decomposition begins. Livor
mortis results when blood settles to dependent parts of the body. It is
visible between a half-hour to two hours after death. It is a purplish
discoloration of the body and organ surfaces. Desiccation occurs on the
mucus membranes of the body. The membranes dry and may look burned, and
the conjunctiva in the eyes turns black. Putretection is a sequence of
events that mutates the body extremely. The skin comes detached from it's
basement membrane. Overgrowth of bacteria causes gas production which may
rupture. The soft tissues may also appear swollen.

Trauma is the cornerstone of forensic pathology. A laceration,
incise wound, puncture, abrasion, contusion, and gunshot wound are all
classified as traumas. A laceration is a tearing injury due to friction or
impact with a blunt object. An incised wound is a cutting injury due to a
slicing action of a bladelike object. The wound edges are smooth. A<...

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Keywords: forensic pathology salary, forensic pathology definition, forensic pathology courses, forensic pathology meaning, forensic pathology degree, forensic pathology schools, forensic pathology services, forensic pathology jobs

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