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Forensic and legal medicine 

Forensic and legal medicine
Chapter:
Forensic and legal medicine
Author(s):

Jason Payne-James

, Paul Marks

, Ralph Bouhaidar

, and Steven B. Karch

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198746690.003.0644
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date: 26 February 2021

Forensic and legal medicine focuses on the interaction between law and medicine. All medical practitioners should have knowledge about the basics of forensic and legal medicine to call upon in the absence of specialists; hence, it is important for any practitioner to be fully aware of laws, statutes, codes of practice, regulations, and professional standards within their own geographic region of practice. This chapter focuses on (1) diagnosis and forensic aspects of death, including death certification and the role (in the United Kingdom) of the coroner; (2) assessment of allegations of physical and sexual abuse, and of torture; (3) how to perform a postmortem (where pathology services may be limited); and (4) forensic use of medical biological tests, particularly genetic tests that can be helpful in determining the likely cause of otherwise unexplained deaths.

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