Divisive Devices and Curious Cuts, Part I: Think Zebras when you hear hoof beats!


Forensic pathologists are regularly called upon to identify and characterize injuries. The accuracy of doing so can have a direct effect on the direction of an investigation conducted by law enforcement in cases where foul play is suspected to be involved in the death. Accurate interpretation of injuries can also have effects on the adjudication process down the line.

Determination of the cause of marks left by medical intervention can be extra challenging without the proper context 1,2,3.

The following images illustrate common quandaries in forensic pathology practice. (Warning! Graphic images follow!):

 

  

Stomped?                                                                           Stabbed twice?

                              

Strangled?                                                       Intermediate range gunshot wound?

Cut?

 

References:

  1. Armstrong E J. 2017. Therapeutic Devices. In Essentials of Death Reporting and Death Certification-Practical Applications for the Clinical Practitioner p 27.
  2. Armstrong E J. 2017. Injury Types: A Primer for Clinical Practitioners. In Essentials of Death Reporting and Death Certification-Practical Applications for the Clinical Practitioner. pp 82-102.
  3. Harm T and Rajs J. Face and neck injuries due to resuscitation versus throttling. 1983. Forensic Sci Int. 1983;23:109-116.