Difference Between Lacerated, Stab & Incised Wounds

Mechanical injuries are Injuries caused by physical violence to the body. Based on the causative forces, mechanical injuries can be divided into blunt force injury, sharp-edged weapon injuries, and piercing weapon injury. These injuries can be inflicted accidentally, or in situations at work, sports, private life, and so on. Lacerated wounds are due to blunt force, stab wounds are caused by a piercing weapon, and incised wounds are due to a sharp-edged weapon. Incised wounds are produced by a sharp-cutting weapon. The force when delivered over a very narrow area corresponding with the cutting edge of the blade of the weapon will cause orderly solution of the skin and tissues. Incised wounds can be produced by striking the body with a sharp cutting edge, due to swiping or drawing action of the weapon on the body which will produce tailing at one end of the wound, or by sawing. The […]

Factors Affecting Mechanical Injuries

Injuries caused by physical violence to the body are known as Mechanical Injuries. These injuries can be caused by a blunt or a sharp force and the forensic medical examination of such injuries are an important section under forensic-medical traumatology. These injuries can be inflicted accidentally, or in situations at work, sports, private life, and so on. Mechanical injuries can be in the form of contusion, abrasion, laceration, puncture wound, or incised wounds. There are a lot of factors and conditions that influence the naked-eye appearance of wounds, histological, histochemical timings of the wound, and the biochemical timing of wounds. Careful examination of injuries is required to determine the cause of death, manner of death, and to avoid false allegations. Injuries can give an idea about the type of weapon used, the direction of impact, and the force of impact. Hence, the factors affecting an injury should be always kept […]

Classification of Injuries

The term ‘injury’, under Section 44 of IPC, denotes any harm illegally caused to any person, on body, mind, reputation, or property. It will include any tortuous act also. Injuries can be severe life-threatening or they may be mild. The type of injury formed depends on the manner and how they are caused. The thickness of the skin has forensic relevance in the amount of injury that is required to penetrate the skin and cause bleeding from the underlying tissues. The human body is exposed to mechanical forces quite often and the body usually absorbs such force either by resilience and elasticity of the soft tissue or by the rigid strength of the skeletal framework. When the intensity of the force applied on the skin is more than the threshold limit a wound occurs. Injury is a broader term and it is often used synonymously with trauma and wound. The […]

Role of X-Rays in Forensic Medicine

X-rays are the most common as well as essential imaging method used in the field of forensic medicine. The foreign bodies present in the body can be displayed and localized and helps to detect traumatic and pathological changes. It is used widely as it has the benefit of being a non-invasive evaluation technique. Thus, analysis before an autopsy can be done that will help in selecting the optimal strategy for dissection. The ability to produce images using x-rays was an accidental discovery by Wilhelm Rontgen in 1895. His findings have been described as having a greater impact on medicine than any other in history. It was only a matter of weeks later that the forensic use of x-rays was tested, they helped convict an American attempted murderer and also in the UK. The main problems during that time were the amount of time it took to produce the images i.e.; […]

Investigation in Cases of Hanging

Hanging is the form of violent death produced by suspending the body with a ligature around the neck. The constriction force will be the weight of the body or a part of the body weight. In complete hanging, the weight of the complete body acts as the constriction force, and in partial hanging only a part of the bodyweight acts as the constriction force. A pressure of 2 kg is sufficient to occlude the jugular venous system causing cerebral venous congestion. If the pressure is 5 kg, it can compress the carotid arteries, the trachea can be compressed with a constricting force of 15 kg. A force of 30 kg is sufficient to obstruct the vertebral arteries. This proves that complete suspension is not necessary, even partial hanging can cause the death of the person. Hanging is classified into various types based on different factors. On the basis of knot […]

Difference Between Algor Mortis & Livor Mortis

Algor Mortis and Livor Mortis both are the processes that takes place in a dead body. Algor Mortis is the process of cooling of body after death and Livor Mortis is settling of the blood in body after death. Algor mortis means cooling of the body. After death, the temperature of the body decreases until it reaches the ambient temperature. It is considered the second stage of death. This term was first used by Bennet Dowler. In the year 1839, John Davy published measurements of the intervals of temperature after death. The temperature decreases because there is no heat generation due to the loss of all physical, chemical, and metabolic activity of the body. Body heat keeps dropping constantly until it matches the environmental temperature. Conduction, convection, and radiation aids in the loss of body heat from the surface. Hourly recording of temperature can help estimate time since death. But […]

Signs of Live Birth of a Child

A child showing a sign of life, even when only a part of the child is out of the mother, though the child has not breathed or is not completely born, is considered as live birth. If the death of such a child happens then it is treated as a homicide. The law in India presumes that every child found dead was born dead unless the contrary is proved. Hence whether it be a civil case or criminal case, proof is required for proving it to be live birth.   Live birth was defined by the World Health Organization in 1950. Not all pregnancies result in live births. A woman may choose to end her pregnancy by abortion, or miscarriage is also known as Spontaneous abortion and pregnancy loss is the natural death of an embryo or fetus before it can survive independently. Some use the cut-off of 20 weeks of […]

Identification of Human Race From Human Skeleton

Human Race is defined as the biological grouping within human beings distinguished or classified according to genetically transmitted differences. Race is a population concept. The population of the world is divided into three types of races namely Caucasians or Caucasoid, Mongolians or mongoloids, negro or negroids. Race can be determined by eyes, hairs, complexion, physical features, teeth, skeletal characteristics, and indices. Determination of race is difficult from bones because racial traits are not so marked and also because there is so much ethnic mixing taking place. The skull offers better evidence according to Krogman and Iscan. Race can be determined in almost 90-95% using a skull. Amongst long bones, the femur is the best indicator. Todd and Lindala (1928) describe the racial difference in the pelvis. Determination of human race is an important factor especially when the identity of the deceased is unknown. When a body is completely decomposed or […]

Detailed Note on Autopsy Procedure

An autopsy is a surgical procedure to examine a corpse by dissecting the body. It is also known as necropsy or postmortem examination. An autopsy is done to determine the cause, mode, and manner of death. It also helps to evaluate any disease or injuries. Autopsies are also done for research and educational purposes. The term autopsy is derived from the Greek word ‘autopsia’ which means “the act of seeing oneself”. Autopsies can be done by a medical doctor known as a pathologist or by a registered medical practitioner.   For conducting an autopsy along with a well-equipped mortuary, instruments and chemicals are also required. After the examination, an autopsy report is made which will have an introductory part, an examination part that mentions the findings, and finally the conclusion/opinion which explains the cause of death deduced from the autopsy findings. The autopsy can be either clinical or medicolegal. A clinical […]

Autopsy Findings in Deaths Due to Drowning

Drowning is a form of asphyxial death where air entering into the lungs is prevented due to submersion of the mouth and nostrils into water or any other fluid medium. The process of submersion does not require the whole body to be underwater. Submersion of nose and mouth is sufficient. The causes of drowning can be the inability to utilize the buoyancy of the body, exhaustion, hypothermia, and getting trapped in whirlpool/tidal waves.  When a person falls in the water, he sinks to the depth of water which is proportional to the momentum acquired during the fall, weight, and the specific gravity of the body. At this point, death can happen due to head injury or coronary artery insufficiency or from sudden cardiac arrest due to vagal inhibition. Our body has a natural buoyancy due to which the person rises again to the water surface. At this moment when the […]

Science Behind Human Body’s Decomposition

It is defined as the disintegration of body tissues after death. It is classified under the late changes after death and is a normal fate of a body. However, under certain specific environmental conditions, modified decomposition happens where instead of the body getting completely degraded, it gets preserved for a considerable time. Such modified decomposition may occur in the form of mummification or adipocere formation.   Decomposition happens when the biochemical process that develops, maintains and preserves the integrity of cellular elements stops. The stages of decomposition are categorized into early and advanced decomposition followed by partial and complete skeletonization. The components of the tissue leaks and breaks up during decomposition and release hydrolytic enzymes. The complex organ tissues are broken down into simpler compounds. The bacteria and other microorganisms feed on the decomposing body.   Two parallel processes of decomposition that proceed simultaneously are autolysis and putrefaction. This is followed by […]

Types of Postmortem Artifacts

‘Postmortem artifacts are any type of change or new feature produced in the body after death that can often create confusion on its nature and causation and results in misinterpretation of medicolegally significant antemortem findings or is itself wrongly considered as a significant antemortem finding. These are physiologically unrelated to the natural state of the body or tissue, or the disease process, to which the body was subjected before death. Forensic experts make use of their expertise to identify such artifacts to avoid any sort of misinterpretation. Misinterpretations can derail the investigation. Therefore it is important to make correct interpretations to prevent erroneous diagnoses. Artifacts can happen during postmortem examination, due to decomposition, improper handling of the body, accidental situations, environmental changes, due to surgical interventions, during embalming, animal, bird or insect activity. The rightful examination is required to convince the relatives, police, lawyers because the external findings caused by […]

Medicolegal Investigation of Blunt Force Injuries

According to section 44 of IPC, the term injury denotes any harm illegally caused to any person, on body, mind, reputation, or property. It also includes tortuous acts. The characters of any injury caused by some mechanical force depend upon the nature and shape of the weapon, the nature of the tissue involved, the amount of energy in the weapon or instrument when it strikes the body, whether inflicted on a moving or a fixed body, the velocity of the weapon, area of action. Injuries caused by a blunt force are physical trauma and are non-penetrating. It occurs due to incidents such as road traffic collisions, direct blows, assaults, injuries during sports. Most of the injuries due to a blunt force are not deep and do not create an open wound. Rarely, injuries due to a blunt force cause death and so most of the time these wounds will show […]

Medicolegal Investigation of Wounds Caused by Sharp Force

Injuries caused using a sharp object are known as sharp force wounds. Injuries caused by such sharp-edged instruments/weapons result in either cutting or stabbing. This depends upon whether the instrument has been used in a swiping manner or a thrusting manner. Careful examination of a cut or stab can help reconstruct the events. It is necessary to identify the type of wound to estimate the probable type of weapon used. Injuries caused due to a sharp force are different from those caused by a blunt force. Wounds using a sharp object can be a result of accident, suicide, or homicide. The healing of these injuries is a sign that the wounds resulted before death.   Wounds caused after death and before death are distinguishable because of the signs of healing. The space between the wound gets filled with blood immediately after the injury and the blood gets clotted and seals the […]

Burn Injuries: Types and Age | Postmortem & Antemortem Injuries

Burn injuries are tissue injuries caused due to the application of heat of any form to the external or internal body surface. The injuries can be minor or sometimes severe and life-threatening. Burns sometimes happen when in contact with naked flame or a heated element of an electric wire/glass/hot metals. The worst burns in domestic circumstances are those due to the ignition of clothing that accidentally comes in contact with coal, gas, stove. The application of the heat that causes burns may be in the form of dry or moist heat, mechanical injuries causing friction like brush burns or friction burns, burns due to corrosives, burn due to lightning/electricity, burns due to radiation, X-rays, UV rays, radium, laser, etc. In case of first-degree burns then it affects the epidermal layer and erythema and blisters can be seen. In second-degree burns, deep layers of skin get affected, and hence healing leaves […]