CSI, CSI: Miami, New York, Criminal Minds, Law and Order are just a few of the popular TV series that have in recent years brought forensic pathology to the forefront of people’s minds. Through these shows, it is seen how the most befuddling and baffling cases of human mishaps can be solved through the exploits of forensic pathology. The science, dating as far back as 2600 BC has been an important means of marrying medical and legal tenets by solving crimes through medical investigations. Being somewhat of an underdog of the forensic sciences, forensic pathology offers several opportunities to society. Forensic pathology is a vital part of a nation’s development by creating a job field, contributing to the effective and efficient workings of the judicial system and encouraging investment in crime fighting equipment.
Forensic pathology Field description
Forensic pathology, since its inception, has unveiled a job field encouraging more of a nation’s brilliant minds to engage in tasks for the betterment of society. As a branch of pathology, which is the study of disease and injury, forensic pathology places its focus on determining the cause of a death and linking victim, criminal or third party to a crime scene. Forensic pathologists are therefore, medical doctors who are trained in the specialty of forensic pathology and work closely with law enforcement officers in solving crimes. Individuals who work within this field of science are highly trained professionals who spend at roughly 14 years in academic pursuits to attain the suitable level of qualifications. Among their responsibilities include gathering medical histories and crime scene descriptions, collecting medical evidence from crime scenes, performing autopsies, microbiological and serological investigations. Despite television’s false insinuation that a forensic pathologist completes a given case usually within a few hours to days, forensic pathologists are known to labor sometimes for weeks before arriving at a particular conclusion to make contributions to a given case. Many forensic pathologists also engage in research studies, the results from which contribute to determining particular patterns in crimes. Due to the sometimes gruesome nature of a case, forensic pathology is seen as a field for the strong at heart, people who are determined and not easily wearied. Forensic pathologists are sometimes referred to as medical examiners and may work for the city, county or federal government or they may be affiliated with a hospital, a medical school or even a private entity. For a typical 12 hour day which sometimes takes the forensic pathologist on long trips with laborious tasks, one may find themselves earning as much as $200,000 US per year and more based on experience and the sector in which the position is held. This reality, along with the recent glorification of forensic sciences personnel on television, makes forensic pathology a much sought after and competitive career with a positive future outlook.
Hundreds of thousands of cases are brought to courts daily and forensic pathologists play their role in upholding laws of a nation by performing their duties effectively and efficiently. As well trained professionals in forensic pathology, forensic pathologist are occasionally called on by executors of the justice system to give their expert opinions on various cases. Their opinion is so important that it may prove to be the wherewithal to convict or free an alleged murder. Based on investigations, forensic pathology helps to determine and categorize a particular case as an accident, homicide, suicide, due to natural causes, or of unknown cause. Forensic pathology duties encompass recreating a crime scene based on the evidence collected and determining the cause of death. Forensic pathologists are called upon also from time to time to make presentations in law schools and various seminars hosted by judicial institutions, again to yield expert opinions and present research findings.
Forensic pathology and the medical field
Having a wide scope of knowledge to pull from (medical and legal) in order to arrive at accurate conclusions in relation to various cases, forensic pathology calls for advanced and up-to-date equipment for effective and efficient outcomes. Forensic pathologists and support staff utilize methods such as toxicology, microscopy, radiology, microbiology, serology and even photography to aid them in their search for truth. Therefore, it would be imperative that new technologies in relation to the aforementioned areas of exploit be developed to keep up with the volume and ever changing range of cases that arise. Popular technologies used by forensic scientists, specifically pathologists include DNA technology and ballistics technology. From the use of simple tools such as scissors, scalpels, bone saws and forceps to seemingly more advanced tools like PCR, Plexor HY from Promega and Maxwell 16 (all used in DNA investigations) forensic pathology depends highly on technology. Therefore, as criminals seem to get smarter, forensic pathologists and scientist are expected to be armed with the latest and most effective means of solving the puzzles they face each day. Based on previous cases, research undertaken by forensic pathologists and law enforcement researchers, brilliant minded, experienced individuals have been encouraged to create innovative devices that aid in the efficient and effective investigations done by forensic pathologists.
Forensic pathology offers a great deal of opportunities for societies and most importantly plays a significant role in the judicial system of a nation. Therefore, because forensic pathology provides a career path to be undertaken by brilliant strong willed individuals and contributes greatly to solving crimes in communities and cities and encouraging the development of new technologies, it can be said that the field is one that is imperative for the betterment of society.