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The history and current status of forensic pathology

Mumine Gormez; Emine Samdanci.

Abstract
Forensic pathology is currently one of the basic touchstones of forensic science in criminal investigations. Together with developing technology and science, the importance of forensic pathology in resolving judicial events is increasing. The aim of this paper was to review the historical development of forensic pathology and the current status. Since ancient times, determining the cause of death has been of the greatest importance for the determination of the punishment to be given for crimes committed. There is known to have been an autopsy to determine the cause of death following the assassination of Roman Emperor Julius Caesar (44 BC). Developments over time in medicine also led to developments in autopsies. Pathology became a separate science with developments in the knowledge of anatomy starting in the 16th century and the invention of the microscope in the 17th century, and thus the normal anatomy, histology and pathology of human tissue came to be better understood. The first pathological anatomy autopsy is known to have been performed in 1286. The importance of forensic medicine and pathology in the process of explaining the cause of death and resolving judicial events has been well understood for hundred of years and has rendered the existence of forensic pathology imperative. Thus, in current international autopsy protocols, pathological examinations have become an indispensable part of autopsies. Despite the different nomenclature in different countries, such as forensic medicine specialist or forensic pathologist, a multidisciplinary approach is necessary in all forensic autopsies. Autopsy procedures are performed by forensic medicine specialists in Europe, by forensic pathologists in the USA and some other countries, and by forensic medicine specialists and forensic pathologists together in Turkey.

Key words: Forensic pathology;historical review;current status;otopsy;death



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