The Importance of Histological Examination in Forensic Medical Practice
Keywords:Histological examination, forensic histopathology, forensic medicine, forensic medical practice, autopsy, disseminated intravascular coagulation, pneumonia
Background: Histopathological examination plays a significant role in the precise determination of the cause of
death. Death scene investigation, full medical history of the patient, thoroughly performed macroscopic exploration
of the bodyand its internal organs, supported by the results from a microscopic histological examination of the
tissues, determine the forensic medical autopsy standards. These, as well as the skills and the experience of the
forensic medical expert, guarantee an accurate forensic medical diagnosis for the medico-legal needs.
Methods: In order to sustain our preposition, we present a case from our practice. A man died during a hospital
treatment for anemia and an autopsy, requested by the relatives, was performed. It was concluded that the cause
of death was a hypostatic pneumonia. During the autopsy a histological material was taken but no examination
was made. Months later, following a prosecutor’s order a histological examination was performed and evidence
for a disseminated intravascular coagulation was found.
Conclusion: This is one of many cases in which there is a difference between the macroscopic and the histological
diagnosis. Histopathological examination of the internal organs for the purpose of providing a medical cause of
death is essential for the forensic practice and it should be undertaken whenever there is a doubt in the macroscopic
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