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Flashcards in Forensics Deck (21)

What are the two choices for manner of death?

(a) Who can sign the death certificate?

Natural or violent

(a) If natural- any physician can sign the death certificate. If violent, only the medical examiner or coroner can sign


What is considered a homicide by a medical examiner?

A death at the hands of another, irregardless of intent (so not like you necessarily meant to kill the person)

-still a homicide if a cop shoots a murder etc


Man gets shot in the neck, dies a few days later b/c he can't eat

(stupid example but just do it)

What is the
(a) manner of death
(b) proximate cause of death
(c) immediate cause of death
(d) Mechanism of death

Man gets shot in the neck, dies a few days later b/c he can't eat

(a) Manner of death = violent, homicide
(b) Proximate cause of death = GSW to the neck
(c) Immediate cause of death = inability to eat
(d) Mechanism of death = starvation


How are natural deaths classified?

Classified 1-5 w/ decreasing certainty

So 1 = totally certain that's the cause
2= most common, disease w/ lethal potential and consistent history and circumstance
5= no effing idea


Differentiate a cut and a stab

Cut = longer on the skin than it is deep

Stab = deeper than it is wide on the skin


Are most pedestrians run over or run under?

Run under- impact occurs below their center of gravity => often knocked upwards (ex: onto the hood of the car)


When do you see fowling?

(a) How to distinguish from stippling

Fowling = residue from a GSW that was just a few inches (


When do you see stippling?

Stippling = abrasion of the skin due to unburned gun powder after a GSW
-seen w/ intermediate range of fire (6-30 inches)

-stippling can't be wiped away


What would be more regular- entry or exit bullet wound?

Duh the entry- it's going straight when it hits you

-exit wound super irregular (coursed thru tons of tissue and shit)


Why is it often hard to track new street drugs w/ panels?

B/c these drugs are modified so quickly that they easily evade previously testable measures
-especially synthetic drugs, tests have to be updated very recently to keep up


Is K2 legal?

Yup, it's chemically modified


Why do you bring blood into the syringe?

To make sure no drug gets left into the syringe (ew...)


Maltese cross on histology is indicative of what type of injection

When drugs are injected w/ binders and fillers (to increase weight)


Describe the mechanism of a vein becoming 'unusable' to an IVDU

First a vein gets infected (called phlebitis) which cause clotting (thrombosis) which eventually becomes fibrotic
-fibrotic = no longer has blood going thru it => vein no longer usable for an intravenous drug user


Differentiate skin popping and mainlining

Skin popping = inject into skin and subcutaneous tissue
-last resort sometimes done when no more viable veins (b/c all are fibrotic)

Mainlining = directly injecting into a vein
-obviously the more effective way


What does it mean if you see birefingement material on biopsy?

Proof that the person was injecting a drug that contained filler material


What are track marks?

Scar overlying subcutaneous vein
-indicative of chronic IVDU
-seen in antecubital fossa
-scars from mainlining


Describe the cause of death from overdosing on

(a) cocaine
(b) heroin

How an overdose causes death

(a) Cocaine = stimulant => sudden death from cardiac arrhythmia
(b) Heroin = respiratory depressant => most commonly causes death by loss of respiratory drive, but can on occasion cause sudden death


What kind of cardiac finding is pretty indicative of IVDU?

Right sided endocarditis

-left sided is much more common overall and from drug use, but if have right sided then def check for IVDU


Key pulmonary complication of IVDU

Pulmonary hypertension- due to foreign material (ex: insoluble crystals) dislodging in the lungs


What is cor pulmonale?

Cor pulmonale = right sided heart failure due to pulmonary HTN
-so IVDU can => pulm HTN which => cor pulmonale