The definition of pathology is " The branch of medicine concerned with determining the nature and course of diseases by analyzing body tissues and fluids".
"Pathology is divided into anatomic andclinical pathology. Anatomic pathologists perform autopsies and analyze tissues taken from patients during surgery or biopsy.
Clinical pathologists contribute to the diagnosis of disease by measuring chemicals and cells in blood, sputum, bone marrow, and urine".
"Forensic pathology is concerned with analyzing medicalevidence in crimes". The Forensic Sciences Foundation, Inc. Career Brochure Web page states "pathology is the study of disease.
This is done by the examination of the body at autopsy, of tissues removed during surgery, and by analysis of fluids from the body, such as blood or urine, in the clinical pathology laboratory".
"The forensic pathologist's involvement and investigation includes visiting the scene of death. Gathering information about what happened at the time and place of the subject's death, what he or she was doing, and the health of the subject is of vital importance. The forensic examination of the body includes examining the clothing on the body, the body itself, and the internal examination of the organs in the body, which is the autopsy. The autopsy may include microscopic and x-ray examinations of the tissues of the body". The forensic pathologist may call in many others in his search for answers.
Evidence such as fingernail clippings and scrapings in an assault case, swabs for examination for sperm and seminal fluid, hair samples, and fibers on the deceased's clothing and body are sent to a crime laboratory for a criminalist to study. Other evidence such as blood, urine, stomach contents, bile liver, kidney, lungs, brains, nail clippings, and hair are sent to a toxicologist. The Forensic scientist must "determine which injuries were received when the victim was alive (antemortem injuries), which changes occurred after death (decomposition), and which injuries were received after death (postmortem injuries).
"Autopsy findings must be correlated with information about the events surrounding the death and the place where death occurred. Examination of the body might indicate that death did not occur where or in the position the body was found; the body may have been moved after the death. The forensic pathologist and the autopsy are vital parts of proper medicolegal death investigation". The forensic scientists must work without bias.
This work may lead to the conviction of an assailant, or it may protect an innocent person.
The forensic pathologist must give dispositions and must testify neutrally in court about the autopsy findings and toxicologic results in criminal and civil law suits.
A new and emerging role for the forensic pathologist is clinical forensic pathology. The same patterns and appearances of injury and wounds seen at autopsy in persons who did not survive the injury are also seen daily in emergency rooms and hospitals in patients (both adults and children) who did survive. The forensic pathologist is an excellent physician to examine a surviving victim to describe the wounds and injuries (such as a gunshot wound or evidence of beating) and to interpret them for the treating physician and for investigating police."The work of the forensic pathologist reaches out to the family of the person who died, to that person's physician, to law enforcement officers, to attorneys who are settling the estate or who are prosecuting or defending a criminal or civil suit, and to the public health workers. The forensic pathologist's work will touch those who are left to deal with the loss and trauma caused by a death in a very personal way.