Forensic pathology in the simplest terms is the study or
investigation of sudden death as a result of an injury or for reasons that
are suspicious due to the young age or satisfactory health of the deceased.
For the purposes of this article, I will concentrate on deaths that are
caused by violent crimes, and this article can be supplemented by using the
links above for the sections dedicated to autopsy, toxicology and DNA.
This article will mainly focus upon the cause, mechanism and manner of
death, as well as provide a basic overview of wound types that are related
to violent crimes.
The cause of death can be a disease, but in violent crimes
it is usually the severe injuries to the victim that is of importance.
This can be little confusing because the cause of death may be a
gunshot wound, while the victim died due to an infection that caused his or
her organs to cease functioning. This introduces the mechanism of
death, which in this example would be the non-functioning of organs that led
to death while the cause of death remains the firearm injuries that led to
the infection and ultimately the complications to the organs. The
manner of death is of interest to investigators because it determines
whether the death was a homicide, suicide, or accident.