forensic pathology


classical mistakes in forensic pathology


changes after death

identification of the deceased

wounds and injuries

head injury

fire deaths

sudden cardiac death

cocaine deaths

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online forensic pathology references

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Copyright forensic medicine resources 2007. All rights reserved.

Forensic pathology is a sub-specialty of histopathology, and is concerned with the application of pathological principles to the investigation of the medico-legal aspects of death.

Forensic pathologists are medically qualified doctors who perform autopsies (postmortem examinations) on those who have died suddenly, unexpectedly, or as a result of trauma or poisoning.

The forensic investigation of death is a multi-disciplinary activity, involving the collaboration between pathologists, crime scene investigators (CSIs), forensic scientists, and other specialists, such as anthropologists, entomologists, odontologists (dentists) and many other experts.

Autopsy findings are combined with the results of other investigations, including the microscopic examination of organs and tissues removed at autopsy, toxicological analyses (of blood and urine, for example), and correlated with the available clinical or medical history of the deceased, as well as the circumstances of their death, in order to answer questions relating to their death.

The issues raised by a death may include:

  • identification of the deceased,
  • the medical cause of death,
  • the interpretation of injuries, and
  • the manner of death (in some jurisdictions), i.e. accident, suicide or homicide





College of American Pathologists - Forensic Pathology

College of American Pathologists - Autopsy resources

College of American Pathologists - Introduction to autopsy technique (Step by step diagrams)

National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME) - Forensic pathology training programmes

NAME - 'So you want to be a medical detective?'

Virtual proofs Exhibition website (Forensic Medicine)

interactive autopsy (flash animation) 

autopsy (australian museum online) 

NCEPOD Report on coronial autopsies in England and Wales - 'The Coroner's autopsy: do we deserve better?'