With an increase in the litigation of medical negligence and malpractices, a forensic expert has an opportunity to execute an important role in the medical field. In case of death due to negligence, they can state the exact reason for death and its relation to the act of commission. No action against medical negligence can be taken in the absence of proper investigation. It is difficult for the forensic expert to keep abreast of all the developments in various speciality techniques; thus, the ad-hoc committee is appointed with the composition of specialist medical practitioners in different medical faculties to evaluate a case of medical negligence.
In case of death due to medical negligence, the examination of postmortem is must for taking any action against the negligent doctor. The aim is to rule out any foul in case of the unnatural or suspicious death of the person. The forensic expert should be cautious as it constitutes a difficult examination, even if there is a reporting problem.
Generally, medico-legal postmortem autopsy is requested by the Police under Section 174 of Cr.Pc, Magistrate under Section 176 of Cr.Pc to obtain the following objectives:
1. To find the cause of death
2. To find the facts, purpose and medical information for law enforcing agencies and court.
3. To allow the recovery and preservation evidence
4. To determine the manner of death
5. To know the time of death
6. To reconstruct Crime Scene
7. To see for the circumstances related to the death
8. To identify the victim, etc
The postmortem reports are needed by the police, public, court and the lawyer. It should contain the concise and relevant points raised during an interrogation of the particular case. Postmortem is a severe exercise and has serious medical, social and legal repercussions.
Rules For Medico-Legal Autopsy.
In India, the rules for medico-legal autopsy stated are as follows;
1. A written order from the Police Officer is necessary for the autopsy.
2. The autopsy should be done in the day time.
3. The autopsy should be carried out in the hospital where the dead body lies.
4. Identity of the deceased to be secured.
5. The postmortem report should be written on the spot.
Contents Of Postmortem Report;
1. Name and identification of the deceased
2. Place, time and date of post mortem
3. Internal Examination
4. External Examination
5. Viscera and samples collected for analysis
6. Opinion as to cause the manner of death
1. To handle the human remains and keep them safe during the autopsy procedure to prevent transmission of viruses.
2. Goggles and face shield should be used during the procedure.
3. Surgical gloves with a layer of cut-proof synthetic gloves should be used.
4. Before leaving the autopsy suite, dispose off the gloves and other used articles as per the facility policies and procedure.