forensic medicine resources for medical students


Established in 1999, still remains the only website dedicated to providing comprehensive educational resources to medical students on forensic medicine and pathology, and has been archived by the UK Web Archiving Consortium (, having been selected for preservation by the Wellcome Trust ( 



This subject is rarely taught at undergraduate level in the UK and so this website remains a unique resource for the application of forensic principles to clinical medicine.


Some may find the subject matter distressing. It is not my intention to offend, but to provide educational materials for medical students (and others); if you are likely to be offended by the subject of violent injury/ death, and the aftermath of such violence, please do not proceed any further into this website, which is not suitable for viewing by minors.


what is forensic pathology?


Source: National Pathology Week


Forensic pathology is a sub-specialty of histopathology, and is concerned with the application of pathological principles to the investigation of the medico-legal aspects of death.

Forensic pathologists are medically qualified doctors who perform autopsies (postmortem examinations) on those who have died suddenly, unexpectedly, or as a result of trauma or poisoning.

Read more about forensic pathology here ...


Forensic or legal medicine has been described as a key to the past, the explanation of the present and to some extent a signpost to the future.

Goode AW and Cameron JM. Medicine, Science, and the Law 2000; 40:2-3

Read about the role of the forensic pathologist in a new leaflet produced for the Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine (UK Royal College of Physicians).


Forensic pathology/ medicine and science links (delicious)



A to Z of forensic pathology, medicine and science




Would you like to help create an A to Z of forensic pathology, medicine and science? If so, please read on!

Language is often a barrier to understanding 'expert knowledge', and this applies to the forensic disciplines as much as any other. My aim is to develop an accessible, and easy-to-read resource to overcome the language barrier, and enable readers interested in forensic matters to access an accurate and reliable descriptive resource.

I have made a start, and created a Google Doc that I invite you to edit. Just follow this link  and you are good to go!

[Update 20/12/2012 the Google Docs document doesn't seem to open reliably in Firefox, but does seem to be editable in Chrome].

If you think a word to be described is missing, go ahead and add it to the document. If you think a description is inaccurate, or misleading, please add a comment to that effect, rather than deleting it!

When the document appears to me to be 'complete', I will publish it on this website, and keep the editable version open for continuous revision.

At this stage I have not set out a detailed set of participant 'ground rules', but abusive/ offensive comments/ entries will not be tolerated. The Wikipedia 'etiquette' guide might be a useful source of information to prospective participants who are new to online collaborative working and are unsure as to 'how to behave'. Valid differences in opinion are bound to occur, but please respect the opinion of others, and be civil!

If this project results in a useful resource, a future collaboration might include developing an illustrated A to Z to complement a text-only version.






forensicmed is now on pinterest - access the boards here ...

Curated educational resources for forensic medicine/ pathology




For those of you who use a tablet device, you might want to download the Flipboard app and take a look at a new set of curated resources for forensic medicine and pathology. These have been grouped together in the following magazines:

In addition, I am curating forensic medicine resources at


Out now ...


Simpson's Forensic Medicine 13th Edition, Arnold Publishing 2011

As the forensic pathology contributor to this textbook, I can confidently say that it will not disappoint those who want a compact overview of forensic medicine and science.

At present, Amazon are heavily discounting the hardback version, and now would be an ideal time to buy it here ...


And available to pre-order ...



Anatomy revision resources can be found here ....

death investigation in America - PBS investigates


Popular television shows portray death investigators as high-tech sleuths wielding the most sophisticated tools of 21st century science. An unprecedented collaborative investigation by FRONTLINE, ProPublica and NPR found a very different reality: A dysfunctional system in which there are few standards, little oversight, and the mistakes are literally buried.

Post mortem - documentary airing from Tuesday 1st February 2011 on PBS



If you are a UK medical student, are you taught forensic pathology?

Yes (103) 58%

No (74) 42%

Total votes: 177


Should forensic pathology be taught at undergraduate medical student level?

Yes (139) 68%

No (65) 32%

Total votes: 204


If you have received forensic pathology teaching at medical school, what format did it take?

International aspects of forensic medicine on Flipboard



View my Flipboard Magazine.


Knight's Forensic Pathology, Saukko P, Knight B

The most authoritative forensic pathology book on the market!

Jones R (read the full review on here)

Buy here



Forensic pathology for police, death investigators, attorneys and forensic scientists, Prahlow J (2009)

Read a review of this book here ...

Buy it here

At Google Books here

Sample pages (on forensic science) here

Also available to read online at Scribd


Read my review here ...

Buy this book here ...

See inside this book here ..


Oxford Handbook of Forensic Medicine. Wyatt J, Squires T, Norfolk G, Payne-James J. 2011

Buy it here ...


Hear an abridged version of 'The invention of murder', read by Robert Glenister, at the author's website

Buy the hardback book here ...

Buy the paperback book here ...

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