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INTRODUCTION TO FORENSIC MEDICINE Robert C. Bux, MD Coroner/Medical Examiner El Paso County.

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Presentation on theme: "INTRODUCTION TO FORENSIC MEDICINE Robert C. Bux, MD Coroner/Medical Examiner El Paso County."— Presentation transcript:

1 INTRODUCTION TO FORENSIC MEDICINE Robert C. Bux, MD Coroner/Medical Examiner El Paso County

2 DUTIES OF THE MEDICAL EXAMINER Determine the cause and manner of death Determine the cause and manner of death Positively identify the deceased Positively identify the deceased Determine the time of death Determine the time of death Collect evidence from the body Collect evidence from the body Document injuries and natural diseases Document injuries and natural diseases Provide expert testimony in court Provide expert testimony in court

3 CASES REQUIRING INVESTIGATION Sudden, unexpected deaths Sudden, unexpected deaths Suspicious deaths Suspicious deaths Trauma related deaths Trauma related deaths Deaths in custody Deaths in custody Deaths in the work place Deaths in the work place Deaths in less than 24 hours after admission to an institution Deaths in less than 24 hours after admission to an institution

4 CAUSE OF DEATH Any injury or disease that is responsible for initiating a train of events, brief or prolonged, that result in the individual dying.

5 MECHANISM OF DEATH The physiological derangement produced by the cause of death which results in death.

6 MANNER OF DEATH An opinion based on known facts concerning the circumstances leading up to and surrounding the death in conjunction with the findings at autopsy and the laboratory tests.

7 NATURAL DEATH Death resulting from a natural disease process.

8 SUDDEN DEATH Cardiac arrhythmia (25% of all A.M.I.s present with a sudden death) Cardiac arrhythmia (25% of all A.M.I.s present with a sudden death) Pulmonary embolus Pulmonary embolus Seizure disorder Seizure disorder Berry aneurysm or CVA (rarely sudden) Berry aneurysm or CVA (rarely sudden) Drug overdose (cocaine or heroin) Drug overdose (cocaine or heroin)

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11 ACCIDENTAL DEATH An unexpected death which results from a lawful act performed under a reasonable belief that no harm is possible.

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14 GOOD JUDGMENT COMES FROM EXPERIENCE; AND EXPERIENCE – WELL, THAT COMES FROM POOR JUDGMENT. Anonymous Surgeon, Vietnam

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37 Toxicology Blood: Blood: Alcohols g/dl Ethanol Alcohols g/dl Ethanol Acid & neutral screen -None detected Acid & neutral screen -None detected Alkaline screen -None detected Alkaline screen -None detected Cannabinoids - None Detected Cannabinoids - None Detected Volatiles mg/l Toluene Volatiles mg/l Toluene Vitreous: Vitreous: Alcohols g/dl Ethanol Alcohols g/dl Ethanol

38 SUICIDE The deliberate termination of ones existence.

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43 HOMICIDE The killing of one human being by the act or omission of another.

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46 UNDETERMINED Autopsy and investigation fail to provide sufficient information to establish a manner of death.

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