Wounds and wound examination
Evidence of injury is a major part of the forensic autopsy report
- All recent injuries whether minor or major, external or internal, should be described in this section.
- Excluding gunshot and stab: external and internal injuries
- Traumatic deaths are due to: mechanical-blunt, sharp trauma and firearm
Blunt force injury: refers to injuries caused by blunt instruments: rocks, bricks etc.
- Abrasions: Damage to the superficial layer of the skin (epidermal)
1. Scrape abrasions
2. Brush burn abrasion: large surface area
3. Impact (pressure) abrasions: force perpendicular
4. Patterned abrasion: the pattern of the tool is imprinted
5. Scratch: pointed instrument (fingernails)
- Contusions: an area of bleeding into the skin or soft tissue as a result of rupture of vessels due to
blunt force injury or pressure.
1. Hematoma: change in color as hemoglobin is broken down. Estimating the time of injury.
2. Extent and severity depends on the amount of force applied
3. Site of contusion does not necessarily correspond with the impact point
- Lacerations: tear in tissue produced by blunt force, tissue is stretched, crushed, sheared or avulsed
1. Commonly over bony prominences
2. Internal organs, mesentery, can be lacerated
3. Characterized by strands of bridging tissue
4. Edges and depths of laceration should be examined with a dissecting microscope or magnifying
- Internal contusions:
1. Heart and pericardium: cardiac injury can result from direct force, compression, blast injury to
the chest. Myocardial contusion/myocardial laceration. Cardiac Tamponade: accumulation of
blood in the pericardial sac.
2. As little as 150cc of intrapericardial hemorrhage may cause death
3. Intrapericardial hemorrhage cause mechanical interference with ventricular myocontractility
4. Cardiac concussion: ventricular fibrillation of asystole, trauma induced apnea (respiratory arrest),
5. Blunt force trauma to the abd