Category Archives: Forensic pathology

Journal articles relating to forensic pathology including coronial autopsies and Disaster victim identification.

New book in the Library collection – Morgue

Morgue: a life in death (2016) Dr Vincent Di Maio & Ron Franscell

In this gritty, and enthralling narrative, Dr. Vincent Di Maio and veteran crime writer Ron Franscell guide us behind the morgue doors to tell a fascinating life story through the cases that have made Di Maio famous-from the exhumation of assassin Lee Harvey Oswald to the complex issues in the shooting of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.

Beginning with his street-smart Italian origins in Brooklyn, the book spans 40 years of work and more than 9,000 autopsies, and Di Maio’s eventual rise into the pantheon of forensic scientists. One of the country’s most methodical and intuitive criminal pathologists will dissect himself, maintaining a nearly continuous flow of suspenseful stories, revealing anecdotes, and enough macabre insider details to rivet the most fervent crime fans.

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New book in the Library collection – Forensic science and the administration of justice

Forensic science and the administration of justice: critical issues and directions (2015) Kevin J. Strom & Matthew J. Hickman

Uniting forensics, law, and social science in meaningful and relevant ways, Forensic Science and the Administration of Justice is structured around current research on how forensic evidence is being used and how it is impacting the justice system. This unique book includes five sections that explore the demand for forensic services, the quality of forensic services, the utility of forensic services, post-conviction forensic issues, and the future role of forensic science in the administration of justice. The authors offer policy-relevant directions for both the criminal justice and forensic fields and demonstrate how the role of the crime laboratory in the American justice system is evolving in concert with technological advances as well as changing demands and competing pressures for laboratory resources.

If you would like to borrow this item, click on the book title (ensure your details are correct) and click SEND.  If the book is currently on loan, we will add your details to the reservations list.

New book in the Reference collection – Australasian coroner’s manual

The Australasian coroner’s manual (2015) Hugh Dillon & Marie Hadley

The Coroners Court presents unique and complex challenges for coroners, lawyers and others working in the jurisdiction, as well as for bereaved families and friends. This new manual, written by a leading Australian coroner and an academic lawyer, provides practical guidance not available in any other single publication in Australia and New Zealand.

The authors address the problems of:

  • Identifying deaths reportable to coroners and the over-reporting of natural deaths
  • Deciding the most appropriate, least invasive ways of conducting post mortem medical investigations
  • Dealing with objections by next of kin to autopsies
  • Responding sensitively and reasonably to the grief and concerns of the bereaved
  • Understanding and accommodating the diversity of death customs and funeral rites in a multicultural society
  • Selecting cases for inquest
  • Managing the coronial investigation and the inquest
  • Working with investigators and Counsel Assisting
  • Analysing accidents, human error and systems failure
  • Developing expertise in a wide range of technical issues
  • Focusing the inquest on death prevention and improving public health and safety


Bad hair: the legal response to mass forensic errors

Litigation (American Bar Association) Volume 42 Number 4, Summer 2016 pp. 32-36

Describes the case of Santae Tribble convicted for murder based on the unsound FBI analysis of hair and subsequently exonerated by DNA analysis.  Commentary on the findings of the 2009 National Academy of Sciences report and systemic problems with the use of forensic evidence and subsequent FBI review of cases involving hair analysis.

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Variability of Brain Death Policies in the United States.

JAMA Neurol. 2016 Feb;73(2):213-8. doi: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2015.3943.


Brain death is the irreversible cessation of function of the entire brain, and it is a medically and legally accepted mechanism of death in the United States and worldwide. Significant variability may exist in individual institutional policies regarding the determination of brain death. It is imperative that brain death be diagnosed accurately in every patient. The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) issued new guidelines in 2010 on the determination of brain death.


To evaluate if institutions have adopted the new AAN guidelines on the determination of brain death, leading to policy changes.


Fifty-two organ procurement organizations provided US hospital policies pertaining to the criteria for determining brain death. Organizations were instructed to procure protocols specific to brain death (ie, not cardiac death or organ donation procedures). Data analysis was conducted from June 26, 2012, to July 1, 2015.


Policies were evaluated for summary statistics across the following 5 categories of data: who is qualified to perform the determination of brain death, what are the necessary prerequisites for testing, details of the clinical examination, details of apnea testing, and details of ancillary testing. We compared these data with the standards in the 2010 AAN update on practice parameters for brain death.


A total of 508 unique hospital policies were obtained, representing the majority of hospitals in the United States that would be eligible and equipped to evaluate brain death in a patient. Of these, 492 provided adequate data for analysis. Although improvement with AAN practice parameters was readily apparent, there remained significant variability across all 5 categories of data, such as excluding the absence of hypotension (276 of 491 policies [56.2%]) and hypothermia (181 of 228 policies [79.4%]), specifying all aspects of the clinical examination and apnea testing, and specifying appropriate ancillary tests and how they were to be performed. Of the 492 policies, 163 (33.1%) required specific expertise in neurology or neurosurgery for the health care professional who determines brain death, and 212 (43.1%) stipulated that an attending physician determine brain death; 150 policies did not mention who could perform such determination.


Hospital policies in the United States for the determination of brain death are still widely variable and not fully congruent with contemporary practice parameters. Hospitals should be encouraged to implement the 2010 AAN guidelines to ensure 100% accurate and appropriate determination of brain death.

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Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences

Table of Contents  |  Volume 48, Issue 4, 2016

Selected articles:

Forensic science – it’s bigger than you think! [Editorial]

Genetic identification of degraded and/or inhibited DNA samples

Evaluation of commercial DNA extraction methods for biosecurity applications


Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences

Table of Contents | Volume 48, Issue 5, 2016

Selected articles:

A proportionate approach to accreditation for sole traders and small-to-medium providers of forensic services — a UK versus Australian perspective [Editorial]

Model forensic science

The attitude of people with an Arabic Islamic cultural background toward medico-legal autopsy