• As a physician who specializes in the investigation of sudden, unexpected and violent deaths the forensic pathologist attempts to determine the identification of the deceased, the time of death, the manner of death (natural, accident, suicide or homicide) the cause of death and if the death was by injury, the nature of the instrument used to cause the death. First, the forensic pathologist gathers a history as to how the death occurred and often obtains the past medical history of the deceased as well. Next, the forensic pathologist examines the body externally and then internally taking biopsies of tissues to further examine under the microscope for disease not visible to the naked eye. This postmortem examination is known as an autopsy. During the course of the autopsy, various laboratory tests may be undertaken, including x-rays, retention of body fluids such as blood and urine for toxicologic analysis and cultures of body fluids and organs for evidence of infection. When all of the information including the history, the results of the autopsy and the laboratory tests are completed, the forensic pathologist correlates all the information and draws conclusions as to the cause and manner of death. A report is then prepared summarizing these findings. The forensic pathologist can expect to be subpoenaed to testify before courts and other tribunals about the pathologic findings and conclusions. Coroners, medical examiners and pathologist provide copies of their official reports to parties, such as insurers or public agencies, having a legitimate interest in the cause and manner of death of citizens. The forensic sciences form a vital part of the entire justice and regulatory system. Some of the different divisions, or disciplines, of forensic science have become identified primarily with law enforcement — an image enhanced by television and movies. This is misleading because forensic scientists are involved in all aspects of criminal cases, and the results of their work may serve either the defense or the prosecution. The forensic scientist's goal is the evenhanded use of all available information to determine the facts and, subsequently, the truth. The forensic scientist's role in the civil justice arena is expanding. Issues range from questions of the validity of a signature on a will, to a claim of product liability, to questions of whether a corporation is complying with environmental laws, and the protection of constitutionally guaranteed individual rights.
  • evaluate effects to find cause
  • In a nutshell.... A forensic pathologist is going to deal specifically with the deceased and cause/manner of death (although I've had a few cases where we used their knowledge of wounds on cases involving living people). A forensic scientist is a very broad term that might include a pathologist, or a forensic chemist, forensic serologist, DNA analyst, blood stain pattern reconstructionist, bullet trajectory specialist, or even us crime scene investigators. :) + points for the question. :)
  • "Forensic science (often shortened to forensics) is the application of a broad spectrum of sciences to answer questions of interest to the legal system." Forensic pathology is a branch of Pathology concerned with determining the cause of death by examination of a cadaver. Forensic pathology is a more specific subject. It could be used in forensic science, or be considered a forensic science.

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