In order to define what forensic pathology is, let us first break it down so we can get a clear understanding of the term. The word “forensic” literally means “pertaining to or used in a court law”. It usually involves utilizing the field of science and technology in order to investigate and hopefully solve a crime by getting concrete evidence that could help determine if the accused is innocent or guilty without reasonable doubt. On the other hand, the word “pathology” is a field of science that studies diseases. Combined, forensic pathology pertains of using pathology for legal purposes.
Let us say that there is a crime and the body of the victim was left behind, studying the body to determine the cause of death and when the victim was killed is within the branch of forensic pathology. One of the processes that they do to close criminal investigation is to study the body fluids as well as the tissue samples. This is done so they can determine if there were toxins involved that could have possibly killed the victim. These are helpful pieces of evidence that are important in solving a crime. Even if a criminal went to the lengths of suffocating a person and submerging him or her to make it appear like the person drowned, a forensic pathologist would be able to pinpoint such foul play.
A forensic pathologist however does more than determine the cause and the time death; they also take a close look at the victim to check for defensive marks or anything that would signify that the victim fought back the attacker. Studying the body is known as autopsy and this is something that a forensic pathologist deals with due to their career. In instances where in the body cannot be retrieved, it is up to the practitioners of forensic pathology to look for available materials in the crime scene that could serve as pieces of evidence during the investigation and prosecution that will shortly follow.
Aside from being an expert in the human anatomy, a practitioner in this field is expected to have several other skills. For one, it is vital for any piece of evidence to not be compromised even in the smallest way since this could determine the outcome of the prosecution. Evidence could even be lost as it will no longer be admitted to court once its authenticity is proven to be tainted. Hence, a forensic pathologist must have the ability to properly and systematically collect and keep evidence. After all the experimentation and testing, an expert in this field may be called to testify on the witness stand and explain the results of the tests that were conducted. This is proven to be most useful in carrying on justice.
Forensic pathology is one of the more challenging fields of science because it requires precision at work. After all, the findings in the lab helps greatly in determining whether the accused is innocent and should be set free of guilty and should be brought to justice.