Introduction to Forensic Pathology

Topics: Pathology, Autopsy, Death Pages: 6 (1414 words) Published: April 22, 2013



The purpose of the course is to teach the basics of forensic medicine to mortuary technicians with no previous knowledge of the subject. The main emphasis will be on mortuary technique, but related aspects of forensic science will be taught. The course addresses the aspects of forensic medicine that are most frequently encountered in practice, including those that may become the subject of testimony in court.


The word autopsy means, “to look at oneself”. Many other terms are used such as necropsy (to look at the dead) and postmortem (after-death). They all mean the same thing.

Autopsies have been performed for a long time, and over the years the value of the autopsy has been proven. It is of use in: Assistance to family – inherited diseases, understanding the death of a loved one, peace of mind Medical Staff – hospitals and doctors can learn about diseases, diagnosis and also treatment Justice and Safety and Security – important information for prosecution of cases Social – insurance claims, paternity, maternity, compensation Public Health – infections such as meningitis, tuberculosis

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Acts Regulating the Performance of Post-Mortem Examinations

|ACT |AIMS OF ACT | |Health Act 63 of 1977 |Postmortem in cases of contagious and infectious diseases | | |Consent of family not needed | | |Body must be exhumed if buried | | |Deals with transplantation of organs | | |Deals with removal of tissue from deceased | |Inquest Act 58 of 1959 |Procedures to be followed in unnatural deaths | | |Consent of family not needed | | |Report for inquest or criminal case | | |Removal of tissue allowed for investigation purposes | |Births and Deaths Registration Act 51 0f 1992 |Defines births and stillbirths and procedures to be followed | | |Defines conditions where a death certificate may not be issued | |Correctional Services Act 111 of 1998 |Provides for the reporting of prisoners dying of unnatural | | |causes | |Health Professions Act 56 of 1974 |Defines anaesthetic deaths | |Occupational Diseases in Mines and Works...
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