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Introduction to Forensic Medicine and its role in the administration of justice. Dr A Tay. Forensic Medicine. The term Forensic Medicine means the application of medical knowledge (all branches of medicine including laboratory examinations) for the administration of law and justice.

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forensic medicine
Forensic Medicine

The term Forensic Medicine means the application of medical knowledge (all branches of medicine including laboratory examinations) for the administration of law and justice

Forensic” comes from the Latin word “forensis” meaning forum.

During the time of the Romans, a criminal charge meant presenting the case before a group of public individuals

all the forensics
All the ‘Forensics’
  • forensic pathology,
  • forensic DNA tests,
  • forensic toxicology,
  • criminal toxicology,
  • forensic autopsy
Forensic entomology deals with the examination of insects in, on, and around human remains to assist in determination of time or location of death. It is also possible to determine if the body was moved after death.
  • Forensic meteorology is a site specific analysis of past weather conditions for a point of loss
  • Forensic geology deals with trace evidence in the form of soils, minerals and petroleums
  • Forensic odontology is the study of the uniqueness of dentition better known as the study of teeth.
  • Forensic photography is the art of producing an accurate photographic reproduction of a crime scene for the benefit of a court.
  • Forensic toxicology is the study of the effect of drugs and poisons on/in the human body.
  • Forensic firearms examination is the science dealing with the investigation of use of firearms and ammunition
The term Forensic Science means the application of the knowledge of science for the purposes of law and justice. The term includes the application of all sciences such as physics, chemistry, biology
  • Almost all branches of science can help in the administration of justice
The term Clinical Forensic Medicine involves an application of clinical methods for the administration of justice.

e.g. battered baby rape victim

Forensic pathology

It is the application of the knowledge of pathology for the administration of justice.

Post-mortem examinations, deducing the cause of death by looking at the state of internal organs, estimating the cause of death by doing histo-pathology of internal organs, etc. involves a thorough knowledge of pathology

medical jurisprudence
Medical Jurisprudence
  • Medical jurisprudence means legal aspects of practice of medicine.
  • For instance, a physician while prescribing medicines for his patients is guided by certain rules and regulations.
  • If he is negligent towards his patients, he may have to face the law.
  • All the rules and regulations which guide a physician during his practice come under medical jurisprudence
medical ethics
Medical Ethics
  • Medical ethics deal with the moral principles which should guide members of medical profession in their dealings with one another, with their patients and with their State. For instance a doctor is not expected to refuse treatment to a patient on religious grounds.
medical etiquette
Medical etiquette
  • Medical etiquette deals with the conventional laws and customs of courtesy observed between members of the medical profession.
  • For instance, a doctor is not expected to charge for giving medical advice and/or medicines to another doctor.
  • He is also expected to see him out of turn. If he follows these guidelines, he is said to have observed proper medical etiquette
the autopsy
The autopsy
  • Autopsy was done on the dead body of the thirty years old lady, who was noticed hanging from the bough of a “keekar” tree in a forest. The deceased was a divorced lady.
  • A shawl was tied around her neck, which belonged to the deceased.
  • As a slip-noose was used, ligature was in contact with the skin throughout the full circumference of the neck.
the cause of death
The cause of Death
  • There was mark of saliva dribbling from the left angle of her mouth. Except over the uppermost part of the right side of the neck ligature mark was faint and deficient on the back and sides. It was believed to correspond to the ligature material as soft as shawl. There was evidence of bruising on and around carotid vessels on the right side.
  • She had abrasions on the upper front of her both legs and also over right side lower outer front of the abdomen. There was no bony injury in the air passages like the fracture or dislocation of the hyoid or thyroid indicative of manual strangulation.
  • Cause of death by all standards was hanging.
the missing earrings
The missing earrings
  • Doubt of homicide gained footings because father of the deceased held that earrings, that the deceased was always wearing, were missing from her ears. So much so the rumor of missing earring had converted in to news of recovery and seemed to have reached police ears while autopsy was going on.
  • Police expected autopsy doctors to provide some vital clues regarding the nature of hanging. Dismissing earrings based homicide theory autopsy team apprised police, true her ears were without any earring but there was no fresh or recent injury in her ears.
  • Ligature mark was believed to be the result of hanging, from a low point, for little period and in such a position that her legs were touching the ground. How could the body examination exclude that she could not and did not hang herself still appeared mysterious to the autopsy team
the recovery of new evidence
The Recovery of new evidence
  • Absence of earring in the ears of the deceased was not given much credence till it was recovered from the killers.
  • Villagers handed over two boys to the police who were found selling the earrings of the deceased.
the confession
The confession
  • They confessed that one of them raped her. They then rendered her unconscious during throttling.
  • They also confessed of having created a scene of hanging. According to them in her efforts to escape she even fell and sustained some injuries on the front of her legs. Just because she removed her earrings herself to offer them for letting her go there was no injury on her ears.
  • They suspended her for two reasons. First they had doubt that she had not died and was still alive. They were so skeptical about her death that even after hanging her, one of them came back to the scene after sometime to make sure that she was really dead.
  • Another reason for hanging her, they told, was that they knew by creating a scene of hanging, even if she was noticed no one would suspect them.
  • A divorced young lady in the village would have several reasons to commit suicide.