Identification of a Dead Person

on 1.2.08 with 0 comments

Sometimes identity of an unknown dead person may be difficult due to the following causes:

1. Extensive putrefaction:

  • Gases of putrefaction cause marked discoloration of the skin and swelling of the body leading to difficulty in recognizing the features of the dead person even by the near relatives.

  • Special procedures are performed for restoration of facial features e.g.

a. Making incisions on the inner aspect of the cheeks to get rid of the gases in the face,

b. Reducing the putrefactive discoloration of the face by injecting a red material into the subcutaneous tissues,

c. Putting artificial eyes.

2. Mutilation of the body: it may be caused by:

a. Bomb explosion.

b. Animal eating the body.

c. Dismembering of the body by human assailant

Medico-legal importance of dismembering of the victim:

1- It makes identification of the victim difficult.

2- Parts of the same body may give rise to different degrees of putrefaction with different postmortem intervals e.g. the severed limbs will putrefy more slowly than the trunk itself.

3- The method used to cut the body may denote that the assailant has skilled knowledge or not (the body may have been cut with or without any regard to the anatomical consideration).

3. Burning:

Burning may interfere with identification of the body especially in case of charred body, or burning with chemical substances as sulphuric acid.

Category: Forensic Medicine Notes



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