Medico Legal Aspects of Autopsy

November 17, 2022

Medico Legal Aspects of Autopsy


Feegel JR. Private autopsy: problems of consent. Denv Legal J. 1964. 41(4):239-41. Conventional identification methods are severely limited in discovered corpses that have been soaked for a long time and have begun to decompose, have been partially or completely destroyed and may have been destroyed by boats or driftwood. Visual recognition or database-based facial recognition is impossible, and detection and identification based on scars from surgery or tattoos can be problematic due to the condition of the corpse. Examination of clothing found on the corpse or foreign bodies found on its body, such as a scarf, belt, rope or other object around the neck or extremities, or objects or parts of objects discovered during the autopsy to be trapped in the body, such as: Balls, can provide valuable additional information. These can relate to where the body entered the water, such as the remains of a plant specific to a particular geographical area, or they can help identify the person who used that item. Registered dental records or serial numbers of special implants can also facilitate the identification process. Here are the four illustrated autopsy techniques described in Jürgen Ludwig`s Handbook of Autopsy Practice and elsewhere. [12] In some states, the deceased is treated as “quasi-property,” which creates an appropriate procedural requirement that the next of kin be informed that an autopsy is in progress. This consideration has been controversial in Ohio, where case law has recognized that next of kin have an interest in recovering and disposing of organs removed after the autopsy of a deceased family member.

In Albrecht v. Treon [20], the Ohio Supreme Court clarified this issue with respect to forensic autopsy. Lowe JW, The Dark Autopsy and the Malignant Syndrome of Neuroleptics. Medicine, science and law. 1997 Jan [PubMed PMID: 9029927] In the case of a corpse caught out of water, one of the specific forensic purposes of conducting an autopsy is to determine whether the cause of death was drowning or whether the person died in some other way and the body was then thrown into the water to hide the crime. A similar concern exists in cases of mock hanging, where the perpetrators of a homicide present it as a suicide. In the event of a fire in a building, the specific medico-legal purposes of an autopsy are to determine whether the person died from burns or other burns (e.g., falling masonry in a burning building or inhaling non-breathable gases) and to distinguish between ante-mortem and post-mortem burns. Autopsy determination of soot particles in the distal respiratory tract and additional autopsy examination of carboxyhemoglobin (COHb) in the blood do not necessarily prove that body surface burns are ante-mortem, but that the victim was alive when the fire was in progress[1], which is not the same conclusion. A corpse found as a result of a fire may have skin burns sustained before death or after death, or both. Continuous application of fire to the skin after death compared to skin burned before death usually obscures the ante-mortem characteristics of burns and presents a challenge for the medical examiner in determining the type of burns.

Such a situation can also occur in aircraft accidents where there is a fire. Sometimes the statements (concerning the nature of the burns and the cause of death) of the forensic expert before the Special Court of Inquiry, which takes place in the circumstances of a plane crash, are misunderstood by lay media personnel and falsely published in daily newspapers. The consideration and importance of contamination issues should not be neglected in the field of autopsy. The potential risk of DNA contamination associated with autopsy equipment, equipment and accessories – including contamination of body bags and autopsy tables – cannot be ignored and can be minimized not only by providing appropriate protocols and equipment, but most importantly by demonstrating personal professionalism [8, 27]. Despite increased attention and due to the development of increasingly sensitive DNA analyses, alternative scenarios are still presented in which DNA transfer by a person or secondary environment is involved. The small amount of certain DNA cells or molecules that may be suitable for amplification is usually undetectable in an autopsy environment and is easily transferable between cases [4, 117, 118]. Although methodological developments continually strive to eliminate the effect of contamination artifacts from the profiling process [119, 120], less appropriate autopsy sampling that includes undetected contamination incidents can lead to misinterpretations within a DNA laboratory [5]. It is not always easy to assess the cause of death in forensic practice.

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