Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

‘Sudden Infant Death Syndrome’ or ‘cot deaths’ or ‘crib deaths’ are the sudden, unexplainable deaths of healthy babies. Even after thorough autopsy, toxicological analysis and investigation the death remains unexplained. In fact the death rate is 2 to 3 per 1000 live births. A lot of research has been carried out for the same but the reasons are still unknown. It is also called crib death because the death is usually associated with sleep and often occurs when the baby is sleeping in the crib. Death is silent in this case and the most common cause of SIDS is asphyxia. SIDS usually occur in infants of age between 2 weeks to 2 years with a peak around 2 to 4 months. It strikes the male infant more often than the female child. Premature infants are at higher risks of SIDS. The risk increases to threefolds in the twins as they are […]

What is Infanticide And Why Does It Occur?

Infanticide refers to the killing of infants below the age of 12 months. It is usually committed by the mother who is either unmarried or widow or married or suffering from any sort of mental illness. The laws in respect to infanticide differs in different countries. For example in United Kingdom, according to Infanticide Act od England, 1938, it is not considered as murder. However, in India there is no separate law for infanticide but it is considered as murder and punishable under section 302 of IPC. Before charging the mother with murder of her child, it is necessary to prove that the child was born alive. If the child was stillborn or dead-born, then it is not considered as infanticide. According to law birth consists of any part of the living child coming out of the mother’s birth passage. There are two terms which are also included in infanticide- […]

Stillbirth: Causes, Probability and Medicolegal Importance

Every year a lot of infants are found dead all around the world. There are various situations of the death of an infant and stillbirth is one such example. Stillbirth refers to the condition in which the child is born after 28 weeks of gestation period and does not show any signs of life, at any time after being completely born. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) there are 2 million stillbirths every year with 40 percent of stillbirths occurring during labor. In 2014, the World Health Assembly endorsed the Every Newborn Action Plan (ENAP) which includes a global target of 12 or fewer per 1000 total births in every country by 2030.   They are most frequently shown in illegitimate and immature male infants in primipara. The incidence of stillbirths is 6 percent of all the births and in primipara it is about 9 percent.  Stages of Stillbirth […]

Postmortem Changes in Human Body

According to the ‘Law of Progressive Change’ everything in this universe changes with time. And this is also applicable after the death of an organism. Human body shows a lot of changes during life as well as after death. The changes that occur in the body after death are termed as postmortem changes. Before discussing postmortem changes let’s first talk about what death is. So, death is not a phenomenon but a process. The process of death starts with somatic death [the process of cessation of the tripod of life i.e., the cessation of nervous system (coma), respiratory system (asphyxia) and circulatory system (syncope)] and then follows molecular death i.e. ultimate death of all cellular entities. After undergoing the process of death, the human flesh undergoes numerous changes some may take just after death while some may take few hours to days. The process of postmortem changes are almost similar […]

Estimation of Postmortem Interval

After death, the body of every living organism undergoes certain changes and gets converted into inorganic matter. This whole process is dependent on time and hence changes undergone during this time forms the basis for estimating Postmortem Interval or time since death (TSD) of an individual. Postmortem interval is the duration between the death to the time when the dead body is found.  The basic principle behind PMI estimation is the postmortem changes observed in the cadaver. All the postmortem changes are time dependent, therefore careful analysis of these changes can estimate the approximate time of death. PMI associates the accused to the particular moment of time which can prove his/her guilt or innocence and plays a key role in medicolegal investigation. Postmortem changes depend on various factors like temperature, geographical area, cause of death, etc. and this creates a great challenge for the forensic pathologists for PMI estimation, especially […]

Features of Stab Wounds

Stab wounds are also known as puncture wounds. These are the piercing wounds that are produced by the application of mechanical force along the long axis of a narrow or pointed object. They are classified mainly based on the depth of penetration and based on the causative weapon. Based on the depth they can be penetrating or perforating wounds. Based on the causative weapon it can be an incised stab wound or lacerated stab wound. Both of these are further subdivided into penetrating and perforating wounds.    Penetrating wounds are those types of wounds that terminate in the tissue/organ and cavity. Mostly only one surface wound will be present on the body due to the entry of the blade and no exit wound as the stab terminates in the tissue, organ, or cavity. Most deaths from stab wounds are homicidal, especially if found in an inaccessible area. The wounds are multiple, […]

Detailed Note on Chop Wounds

Chop wounds are otherwise known as slash wounds. They are a type of incised wounds made by chopping or hacking motion with a sharp and heavy weapon. They are deep gaping wounds caused by a weapon like a hatchet, an axe, sword, broad heavy knife, chopper, saber, or meat cleaver. These wounds are inflicted with a swinging action usually in a vertical or oblique plane from top to bottom and hence the head is the most favorable location of the attack. If the whole blade strikes the body at the same time, the depth may be the same throughout the wound. Usually, the heel of the axe strikes the surface first and will produce a deeper wound than the upper end. These types of wounds mainly causes amputation. The target for chopping attacks was found to be primarily the head and neck region, followed by the trunk. They were also […]

Detailed Note on Features of Incised Wounds

Incised wounds are otherwise known as slash or a cut. It is a type of mechanical injury that is produced by a sharp cutting weapon. The force when delivered over a very narrow area corresponding with the cutting edge of a blade of the weapon will cause orderly solution of the skin and tissues. Injuries like glassing injury, defense wounds are also included under the incised wound. Incised wounds can be produced by striking the body with a sharp cutting edge, due to swiping or drawing action of the weapon on body which will produce tailing at one end of the wound, or by sawing. The sawing action will produce multiple wounds on the skin at the beginning which will all merge into one at the end. If it is an antemortem injury then it will show signs of healing which it is accomplished with the regeneration and repair process. […]

Detailed Note on Laceration Wounds

A laceration wound is a type of mechanical injury caused by hard and blunt force impact characterized by the splitting or tearing of tissues. This happens when the skin loses its elasticity. The laceration wound is also known as tears or ruptures. Localized portions of tissue are displaced by the impact of the blunt force, which sets up traction forces and causes tearing of the tissues. A laceration wound is different from an incised wound because the continuity of the tissue is disrupted by tearing rather than clean slicing. The object used to cause the wound is pulled obliquely against the tension of the skin. It crushes and stretches a broad area of the skin, which then splits in the center causing a tear. Depending upon the presence or absence of vital reaction and, of course, the extent of bleeding, coupled with bruising of the margins helps to distinguish between […]

Factors Affecting Modification of Bruise

A contusion, also known as a bruise is the extravasation or collection of blood due to the rupture of blood vessels caused by the application of mechanical force of blunt nature without loss of continuity of tissues. It is caused by a blunt force impact causing crushing or tearing of subcutaneous tissue or dermis without breaking the overlying skin. As the blood vessels rupture, the blood gets collected underneath the tissue. This causes swelling and pain. Contusions may be present in the internal organs like the brain, lungs also. Contusions over the brainstem are often fatal. Contusions on the heart can disrupt the normal rhythm and can cause cardiac failure. Contusions when present on organs can rupture the cellular covering with resulting bleeding. If contusions are inflicted on vital parts like the heart, or neck then it may cause death. Multiple contusions can cause death due to shock, or hemorrhage. […]

Differentiate Between Hypostasis and Bruise

Hypostasis is also known as Postmortem Lividity, livor mortis, vibices, suggillation, postmortem staining. It is the purplish-blue or reddish-blue discoloration due to the settling of blood by the gravitational force within the dependent dilated and toneless small veins and capillaries of rete mucosum. It is an intravascular phenomenon and occurs in the dependent part of the body. The areas that remain in direct contact with the ground will not show staining. This is known as Contact Pallor. Lividity can occur in internal organs as well and hence can be confused with contusion of the organs or congestion. Post mortem lividity does not appear over scars or scarred areas as these areas are devoid of blood vessels.   A bruise is the extravasation or collection of blood due to the rupture of blood vessels caused by the application of mechanical force of blunt nature without loss of continuity of tissues. It is […]

Detailed Note on Contusions/Bruises

A contusion, also known as a bruise is the extravasation or collection of blood due to the rupture of blood vessels caused by the application of mechanical force of blunt nature without loss of continuity of tissues. It is caused by a blunt force impact causing crushing or tearing of subcutaneous tissue or dermis without breaking the overlying skin. As the blood vessels rupture, the blood gets collected underneath the tissue. This causes swelling and pain. Contusions may be present in the internal organs like brain, lungs, etc. Contusions over the brainstem are often fatal. Contusions on the heart can disrupt the normal rhythm and can cause cardiac failure. Contusions when present on organs can rupture the cellular covering with resulting bleeding. Postmortem and antemortem contusions can be distinguished as swellings, extravasation of blood, signs of inflammation, and hemorrhage are present only in antemortem contusions. If contusions are inflicted on […]

Detailed Note on Abrasions

Abrasion is also known as gravel rash is a type of mechanical injury that causes destruction of the skin, and is characterized by the loss of superficial skin or mucous membrane due to the application of mechanical force. The general thickness of the skin is 1.6 mm. Pure abrasions do not ordinarily bleed, but because of the corrugated nature of the dermal papillae, quite often the dermis layer also gets injured. This results in bleeding. This bleeding is rarely serious as only small blood vessels are involved. Generally, abrasion does not leave any scar on healing.  Abrasions can be produced due to sliding force or compression force. It is caused by friction against any rough surface or by compression. It can happen either due to falling on a rough surface, lateral rubbing action by a blow, vehicle accident, fingernails, thorns, or teeth bite. When sufficient friction is applied, complete or […]

What are Fabricated Wounds?

Fabricated wounds are those which are produced by a person on his own body or by another person by his consent. These are otherwise known as self-inflicted wounds. They are fictitious, forged, or invented wounds. They have mostly incised wounds or else contusions. Lacerated wounds are very rare in a fabricated wound. The fabricated wound in the form of an incised wound is usually parallel and of equal depth at origin and termination. These injuries are not seen at vital points like eyes, lips, ears, and nose. In the forehead it might be in the forward direction, if the wound is on the outer side of the upper arm then it will be directed above and downwards. The direction of the wound can vary on the legs and is mostly vertical. If the fabrication is in the form of burns, then they will be superficial and the location will depend […]

Features of Defense Wounds

A defense wound is an injury received by the victim of an attack due to immediate and instinctive reaction to the attack while defending against the assailant to save himself. These types of wounds are mostly found in the hands and forearms because as a quick response the victim might have raised them to guard the top and the face. It can be present on the feet and legs when the defending action is taken while lying down.  Defense wounds are classified into both active and passive defense wounds. Active defense wounds are caused when the victim tries to grasp the weapon and passive defense wounds are caused when the victim tries to save himself by raising the hands, arms, or legs. When the attack is made using a blunt object the person might attempt to protect their eyes, head, and neck by raising their arms, flexing their elbows, and […]