Pathology of Death

Pathologyof Death

Asan investigator you have been tasked with solving a hit and runhomicide case involving a pedestrian and unknown vehicle. Explainwhat wounds you may expect to see and how these injuries may helpreconstruct the crime.

Onthe victim I would expect visible lacerations injuries, the skinwould be torn open or cut. Injuries from the cuts could be grave, ora grazing on the skin surface, or shallow to the nerves, bloodvessels, ligaments, tendons, or muscles. Lacerations most time arisefrom some blunt trauma for instance being hit with a blunt object.The skin from a laceration injury would be jagged as the skin is tornand not cut, as it would be from an incision inflicted wound. Aninjury where the skin appears as not broken is referred to as acontusion. A characteristic of this kind of injury is a blunt forcetrauma resulting in tissue damage. A bruise under the skin appears asa blood pool as a result of broken blood vessels. When a sharp objectpenetrates the skin, it creates a puncture wound. The woundsinflicted through this method are small in nature and do not bleedprofusely (Vito &amp Holmes, 2005). By inspecting the type ofinjuries present on the victim, it can easily be established whatcaused their death.

Oneof the biggest challenges to medical examiners today is determiningwhether an infant died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) orwhether foul play was involved. Discuss the research behind SIDS andwhat evidence assists the medical examiner in concluding a death wasthe result of SIDS. Summarize the protocol an investigator should useat a crime scene when investigating a possible SIDS death.

SIDSremains a largely mysterious tragedy, unpreventable, andunpredictable tragedy. The baby seemingly appears healthy and withoutany sign of pain or noteworthy illness before their death. Evidencethat may assist medical examiner in assessing SIDS arises from theseproposals:

  • A case found dead in a horizontal position, mild infectious traces, or the presence of an external matter in the respiratory tract. There is an emphasis on the physician to report such cases to the police if they believe it lacks clinical explanation or it is unnatural.

  • An autopsy protocol for SIDS should examine biochemical, viral, bacteriological, histological and toxicological observation on samples collected.

  • Pertinent facts concerning the ante mortem death scene, social circumstances, past clinical history, and health status should be provided to the forensic pathologist so as to gather more accurate information.

Suspicionof infanticide or accidental death should be entirely ruled out afterthese three fundamentals have been satisfied (Pritchard, 2004). Aftertests have been conducted, and there is a lack of conclusiveexplanation the pathologist can rule the SIDS case as undetermined orunspecified.

Definecarboxyhemoglobin and explain its relationship to the MGM Grand Hotelin Las Vegas.

Carboxyhemoglobinis a biochemistry process through which carbon monoxide infusesitself on the hemoglobin. The binding strength of carbon monoxide tothe hemoglobin is stronger compared to that of the oxygen. Thepresence of carbon monoxide poisoning leads to the formation of thecarboxyhemoglobin, which results in a lack of oxygen in the body.Respiratory tract and blood samples containing fluid extracted fromfatalities of the MGM Grand Hotel fire were analyzed to aid insolving their deaths. The tissue and blood samples were examined fortotal hemoglobin, methemoglobin, oxyhemoglobin, andcarboxyhemoglobin. X-ray fluorescence conducted a heavy metalinvestigation on inhaled smoke and mass spectroscopy/chromatographygas was used on the tissue samples through outgassing. The values ofcarboxyhemoglobin samples obtained from the victims were very highestablishing that most of them died as a result of a deficiency inoxygen (Craighead, 2009).

Twochildren were playing hide and seek with friends. With the assistanceof another friend, the two children were lowered down into anabandoned well. The well was approximately 15 feet deep. After twodays of searching, a police officer located the two missing childrendeceased inside the well. Neither child had any signs of injury anddid not die as a result of exposure, starvation, or dehydration.

Giventhe location in which the two children were found, I would rule it asdeath by drowning. Drowning is a form of oxygen deprivation due toaspiration of liquid into the respiratory tract caused by submersionin fluid or water (Corrigan, 2012). My first assumption in supportingthe theory of death by drowning is that the bodies were found twodays later in the well. It would have been easy to retrieve thebodies as they would have surfaced above the water due to the naturalbuoyancy of an object with mass. Secondly, my assumption would havebeen that the children chose to hide in the well as the level of thewater would have subsided during the day. In the evening the level ofthe water in the well would have risen drowning the two childrenstill hiding in the well. Hypothermia is a form of exposure tofreezing temperatures, starvation and dehydration would take longerthan two days. Therefore, these factors would not have been acontributor to their deaths. The only conclusion that can be arrivedat is death by drowning.

Awoman sunbathing at the beach in a bikini is found dead of a gunshotwound to the upper right thigh. Black markings can be seensurrounding the entrance wound. Did the victim die from a contactshot that pierced her femoral artery or is it possible the victim wasshot from a distance and the black markings are the ring of dirt?Explain your answer.

Themarking shows that the victim died from a contact shot that puncturedand damaged her femoral artery. This being a major blood vessel wouldhave meant that the victim would have succumbed to her injuries anddied having received no immediate attention. The black markingdiscovered at the entry point of the wound is a residue of corditeand gunpowder. These two chemicals substances are the content foundin a fired bullet (Ricciuti, 2007). The barrel of the gun would alsoleave a burn mark on the flesh of the victim. This proves that thevictim must have been shot at a close range and probably by someonethat was known to her. The volume of blood found at the scene of thecrime will also determine if the victim was shot there and bled outto death. If the body were moved, then there would be little or noblood at the scene.


Pritchard,C. (2004). TheChild Abusers.Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Vito,G. &amp Holmes, R. (2005). Criminology:Theory, Research, and Policy.Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth Pub. Co.

Ricciuti,E. (2007). Forensics.New York: Collins.

Craighead,G. (2009). High-RiseSecurity and Fire Life Safety.Amsterdam: Butterworth-Heinemann/Elsevier.

Corrigan,G. (2012). EssentialForensic Pathology.Boca Raton: CRC Press.