rss_2.0Scandinavian Journal of Forensic Science FeedSciendo RSS Feed for Scandinavian Journal of Forensic Science Journal of Forensic Science 's Cover of pulmonary artery aneurysm with eroding thrombus into the airways. A fatal case of suffocation<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>We present a fatal case of hemoptysis following a thrombus-eroding pulmonary artery aneurysm into the left upper bronchus of a 79-year-old male with a history of multiple hospital contacts and examinations due to cough, hemoptysis, and reflux symptoms.</p> <p>A postmortem computed tomography (CT) scan revealed a hyperdense, condensed area in the left lung in relation to the lung hilus. At autopsy, the forensic specialist discovered a large, organized thrombus in a pulmonary artery aneurysm. The thrombus was adherent to the pulmonary artery aneurysm wall with an underlying defect directly communicating to the left upper bronchus. The cause of death was asphyxia due to blood in the airways (i.e., suffocation).</p> <p>The combination of pulmonary artery hypertension, previous pulmonary embolism, and hemoptysis should lead to a particularly thorough inspection of the lungs with a focus on the pulmonary circulation. This case report emphasizes the importance of early detection of patients at risk of pulmonary artery rupture and attentiveness when performing biopsies during bronchoscopy to prevent communication between the artery and the airway. The risk of rupturing an aneurysm should be taken into account when performing biopsies on excrescence intruding into the bronchus in patients with medical histories of pulmonary hypertension, cough, and sporadic hemoptysis.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-01-21T00:00:00.000+00:00Post Mortem Computed Tomography as an important tool in establishing a cause of death in fire fatalities Medicine – seen through the eyes of a social anthropologist<abstract><title style='display:none'>ABSTRACT</title><p> For the average Dane death has become part of daily life. The media paints a picture of numerous violent acts, but even though we come across it on a daily basis certain aspects of death, e.g. working with the dead, are still seen as taboos.</p><p>This article is based on my internship at the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Odense in February 2011 where I participated in the daily routines, and therefore had the opportunity to see how the employees relate to death and the dead.</p><p>The section “A Room of Impurities” deals with the symbolical impurity of the autopsy rooms at the Institute, since death, according to the anthropologist Mary Douglas, is a taboo and therefore something symbolically impure. In the section “Subjects or Objects?” another aspect of working with the dead is presented. The employees at the Institute have an ability to see the dead as both subjects and objects and to switch between these. The dead body as an object can equally be seen as something impure. The last section “A Part of Human Life” compares the taboo surrounding the Institute of Forensic Medicine with the view upon death in Tibet, and concludes on the manuscript.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2013-05-28T00:00:00.000+00:00Accidents are caused, they do not happen<abstract><title style='display:none'>ABSTRACT</title><p> The head, being the most vulnerable part of human body, is the most commonly injured body part in accidents, especially those involving road traffic. In an unusual case, the deceased succumbed to internal injuries of the brain that resulted from the neck being constricted with the loose end of a dupatta. The woman was pillion riding a motorbike when the loose end of the dupatta got entangled in the rear wheel of the motorbike. As a result, her neck was constricted by the dupatta and wentunnoticed. This paper comments on the safety of wearing the traditional style dressing of Indian women while riding on two wheeled vehicles. Additionally, this paper suggests it be mandatory to wear helmets for all pillion riders in order to prevent such mishaps in future.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2013-05-28T00:00:00.000+00:00Fatal bupivacaine overdose through intrathecally positioned epidural catheter<abstract><title style='display:none'>ABSTRACT</title><p> We describe a fatality due to an intrathecally positioned epidural catheter and an infusion rate of bupivacaine set 10 times higher than planned. The undetected misplacement, despite safety routines, is discussed along with the toxicological findings and new information on the intrathecal distribution of bupivacaine. From a clinical point of view, the human factor, in combination with an indistinct decimal point on the pump, was considered as the reason for the unfortunate overdose. In continuous epidural infusion of local anesthetics, the importance of guidelines and informed staff in managing complications of epidural lumbar infusion as well as careful monitoring of the vital functions is essential. Guidelines are also vital during the procedure of insertion of epidural catheters. When using combined spinal and epidural anaesthesia, we believe that an epidural catheter should be inserted, and its position tested, prior to spinal anesthesia. The case also illustrates the need of innovative investigation techniques to confirm the suspicion of unusual manifestations of inadvertent drug effects. Segmental analysis, together with analyses in a control case, enabled us to elucidate the high and varying tissue concentrations in the central nervous system.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2013-05-28T00:00:00.000+00:00Forensic anthropology and human identification<abstract><title style='display:none'>ABSTRACT</title><p> This is the full summary paper of a thesis to be defended at the University of Copenhagen, May 31st, 2013</p></abstract>ARTICLE2013-05-28T00:00:00.000+00:00Bereaved parents’ experiences of being informed about autopsy findings after the sudden and unexpected loss of an infant or small child<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>Background: Following the sudden and unexpected loss of an infant or small child, the police <bold>usually</bold> request a forensic autopsy. <bold>National guidelines exist for how the autopsy report should be made available for the bereaved parents, but there is limited knowledge whether the guidelines are followed.</bold> This study aims to explore bereaved parents’ experience<bold>s of being informed about autopsy findings.</bold></p><p>Methodology: As part of in-depth follow-up interviews at 13 months post-loss, <bold>24 couples</bold> were asked how they experienced being informed about autopsy findings. Participants’ responses underwent thematic analysis.</p><p>Results: The results show that the <bold>waiting period before the autopsy report was made available was a burden for many parents, particularly those who experienced a delay in the process. Two main themes related to parents’ experiences of being informed when the report was available:</bold> ‘informed in a supportive and caring way’ and ‘difficult or negative experiences’.</p><p>Conclusion: Several factors are described that help parents cope with being informed about autopsy findings<bold>, such as: being informed according to the given timeframe by competent health personnel, face-to-face meetings at the hospital, being able to ask questions and routine follow-up contact. These factors are mostly described in the national guidelines. This study shows that when guidelines were followed, the majority of parents were satisfied with how they were informed. Unfortunately, some parents had negative experiences.</bold> Regular training and continuing education for health personnel <bold>are recommended</bold>.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2021-05-13T00:00:00.000+00:00Relationship between head and neck injuries and helmet use in fatal motorcycle and moped crashes in Denmark<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>Motorcycle- and moped crashes are prevalent in motorised societies and carry a significant risk of serious injury. Whereas helmet use has reduced the frequency and severity of head injuries, the association between helmet use and neck injury risk is less clear. In the present retrospective study, we examined the relationship between helmet use and various types of head and neck injuries resulting from fatal motorcycle and moped crashes during a 20-year period. Eighty-three cases were included of whom 56 were analysed in detail based on their confirmed use/non-use of helmet. Intracranial haemorrhage was the most common finding, followed by CNS disruption and skull fracture. There was a significantly lower prevalence of skull vault fractures and epidural haemorrhage in the helmeted cases. Injuries to the brainstem and cervical spine fracture/dislocation were more common in the helmeted cases, although this was likely a function of higher speeds among motorcycle riders rather than an effect of helmet use per se. Further investigation of these findings require additional detailed information regarding the nature and severity of the crash, as well as helmet use and type, in order to assess non-confounded associations with the anatomical distribution, type and severity of observed head and neck injuries.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2021-05-13T00:00:00.000+00:00All sudden unexplained infant respiratory deaths may result from the same underlying mechanism<abstract xml:lang="en"><title style='display:none'>All sudden unexplained infant respiratory deaths may result from the same underlying mechanism</title><p>The Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) was defined in 1969 by Beckwith as sudden death of an infant or young child, unexpected by medical history, remaining unexplained after thorough autopsy/death-scene investigation. Recently researchers have used the general terms Sudden Unexplained Death in Infancy (SUDI) and Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) as "umbrella-terms" covering unexplained deaths (SIDS); sudden deaths for which SIDS risk factors present but insufficient cause is found; and sudden deaths for which sufficient cause is found. A characteristic feature of such deaths is that, 24-hours before death (or unexpected collapse that led to death), the caregivers were unaware that the baby was at increased risk of dying. The explainable cases include deaths from several recognized causes including infection, metabolic conditions, accidental and non-accidental injury, and various genetic or cardiac conditions as well as "Accidental Suffocation and Strangulation in Bed (ASSB)." SIDS is characterized by a ~50% male excess common to all respiratory infant deaths and a 4-parameter lognormal age distribution - thought to be unique and SIDS main distinguishing characteristic. In this article we model these data for age and/or gender distributions of SUDI/SUID and SIDS reported from the U.K., U.S., Norway and Germany. When pooled together with SIDS, these explained SUDI/SUID data on infant ages and gender have the same distributions as SIDS, indicating that the final mode of death for all SUDI or SUID may be a consequence of different paths to the same biological phenomena as for SIDS, though the mechanism of death remains unclear.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2012-07-19T00:00:00.000+00:00A current absence of neonaticide in Norway<abstract xml:lang="en"><title style='display:none'>ABSTRACT</title><p>The present study is the first attempt to explore the rate, characteristics and legal reactions to neonaticide in Norway during the years 1990 – 2009. Potential incidents of neonaticide were identified through the national homicide index held by the National Criminal Investigation Service and the national police registers for all recorded crime in Norway held by the National Police Computing and Material Services. The study uncovers that no clear incident of neonaticide has been recorded in the respective registers during the study’s time period. There was however recorded one case of a discarded stillborn and one case of an abandoned neonate that died through exposure. The paper discusses whether the study’s findings are congruent with an evolutionary psychological understanding of filicide and current knowledge of risk factors and rates for neonaticide.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2012-12-30T00:00:00.000+00:00Visualisation of contrast-filled stab wounds in various tissue types with computed tomography<abstract xml:lang="en"><title style='display:none'>ABSTRACT</title><p>Background: Stab wounds are common in homicide cases. Post-mortem multislice computed tomography (PMCT) has proved to be a useful tool in forensic examinations of victims of sharp force trauma, but due the limited resolution of soft tissues, the radiological depiction of a stab channel is difficult. In this study, we have tried to obtain information about the shape of a knife blade by CT scanning contrast-filled experimentally inflicted stab wounds in various types of pig tissue.</p><p> Methodology: The tissue samples were mounted on floral foam (oasis) with wooden sticks. Two contrast media were used: one was unmodified and easy flowing, and one was made more viscous with polyethylene glycol. Stab channels in ballistic soap were used for comparison. India ink-filled stab channels were investigated histologically to determine the pattern of leakage.</p><p> Principal findings: We found that the shape of the stab wounds on the CT images from lung and muscle tissue did not correspond well to the shape of the inflicting knife. There was a better correspondence in the images obtained from liver, spleen and kidney. The viscous contrast medium was less likely than the thin (easy flowing) contrast medium to spill into to structures outside the stab channel, but some spillage was observed for both types of contrast medium. Air bubbles were only observed in the viscous contrast medium.</p><p> Conclusion: Radiological evaluation of a contrast-filled stab wound in isolated tissue blocks did not permit the positive identification of the inflicting weapon, but it was, in tissue blocks from liver, spleen and kidney, possible to obtain a rough idea of the shape of the inflicting knife and to differentiate a knife from a screwdriver.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2012-12-30T00:00:00.000+00:00A unique case of electric circular saw suicide with injuries to the chest and abdomen<abstract xml:lang="en"><title style='display:none'>ABSTRACT</title><p>This case report discusses the previously unreported situation of a suicidal death, with injuries to the chest, by means of an electric circular saw. A review of the English and German literature provides an overview of common sites of injury, gender and psychiatric status in power saw related deaths.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2012-12-30T00:00:00.000+00:00Analysing knot evidence: associating innate habits with sophisticated tying tasks<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>Most ligature cases feature everyday, innately-tied Overhand Knots, Half Hitches and Half Knots. These knots are the result of habitual behaviour and individual tiers demonstrate consistency, except when certain contextual factors come into play. This survey focussed on comparing the chiralities of basic knots to those of Figure Eight Knots, which occur in case evidence and require similar tying actions. It is important to note that real-world Figure Eights are oriented relative to their working ends and are therefore chiral, whereas topological Figure Eights have no ends and are amphichiral. Data summarizing the tying habits of 184 survey respondents were collected and analysed. The majority of volunteers surveyed tied common Overhand Knots and Figure Eights of equal chirality, consistently or nearly consistently, irrespective of any general learning effect. A minority tied knots of opposite chirality. The knots tied by the remaining respondents varied, and the data suggested a potentially complex pattern which may be related to previous findings. Similar but less pronounced patterns were exhibited in the Half Hitch and Half Knot data. This information could be useful when analysing case evidence and making links to suspect samples, provided cautious attention is paid to context and knot function.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2017-03-04T00:00:00.000+00:00Death scene investigation: parents’ experiences<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>This article presents the results of a study undertaken to evaluate how parents experience voluntary Death Scene Investigation (DSI) in their homes. In total, 35 parents were interviewed using semi-structured qualitative interview guidelines developed for this project. These focused on the parents’: 1) appraisal of information provided prior to the DSI and motivation for participating in the study, 2) experience of, and reactions to the DSI, and 3) thoughts and reactions following the DSI. The evaluation shows that performing a DSI is an important part of providing good care for bereaved parents following Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. If such an investigation is undertaken by professionals with extensive professional knowledge and experience in meeting bereaved parents in an empathic and caring manner, it can be a positive experience for parents, and help support them in coping with the painful death of their infant.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2017-03-04T00:00:00.000+00:00THE BLACK STONE: Memory of a female serial killer in Bremen<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>This is the story of the serial killer, Mrs. Gesina Gottfried from Bremen, Germany. She was executed in 1831, being charged and convicted for having murdered at least 16 people, partly from her own family, with arsenic trioxide.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2017-03-04T00:00:00.000+00:00Twelve unidentified skeletons as remains of an epidemic or famine in Northern Finland<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>Skeletal remains of 12 individuals were found in a grave in a tar-burning pit. There were no coffins or other belongings to help with identification or reveal the cause of death.</p><p>Methods: Forensic osteological and odontological methods were used to establish sex, age and height. Histological and chemical tests, including the determination of C-14 content, were applied to dating the skeletal remains.</p><p>Results: Out of 12 skeletons, 8 were adults; 5 females, 2 males and 1 probable female. Four skeletons belonged to children (ages 1-12 years). The bones had been in the grave for more than 100 years as concluded from the deterioration of the distal parts, embrittling of the surface to 1 mm depth. C-14 results gave the radiocarbon years 95 +/− 65 Bp (before present, i.e., 1950). The calibrated years correspond to two time periods, 1670–1780 AD and 1798–1944 AD, as a possible period of death.</p><p>Conclusions: Starvation and illnesses are the most plausible explanations for the deaths. Historical studies show that during the 17<sup>th</sup> and 19<sup>th</sup> centuries, there were famines in Finland accompanied by severe infections (severe famines in the years 1866–1868 and 1696–1697), forcing a lot of people to leave their homes.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2017-03-04T00:00:00.000+00:00Automated Dental Identification with Lowest Cost Path-Based Teeth and Jaw Separation<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>Teeth are some of the most resilient tissues of the human body. Because of their placement, teeth often yield intact indicators even when other metrics, such as finger prints and DNA, are missing. Forensics on dental identification is now mostly manual work which is time and resource intensive. Systems for automated human identification from dental X-ray images have the potential to greatly reduce the necessary efforts spent on dental identification, but it requires a system with high stability and accuracy so that the results can be trusted.</p><p>This paper proposes a new system for automated dental X-ray identification. The scheme extracts tooth and dental work contours from the X-ray images and uses the Hausdorff-distance measure for ranking persons. This combination of state-of-the-art approaches with a novel lowest cost path-based method for separating a dental X-ray image into individual teeth, is able to achieve comparable and better results than what is available in the literature.</p><p>The proposed scheme is fully functional and is used to accurately identify people within a real dental database. The system is able to perfectly separate 88.7% of the teeth in the test set. Further, in the verification process, the system ranks the correct person in top in 86% of the cases, and among the top five in an astonishing 94% of the cases. The approach has compelling potential to significantly reduce the time spent on dental identification.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2017-03-04T00:00:00.000+00:00An explanation of the 25% male excess mortality for all children under 5<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p> BACKGROUND: To demonstrate that an epidemiologic probability model of a hypothesized X-linkage for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) that predicted its 50% male excess, also predicts the 25% male excess of all child mortality for ages under 5 years. </p><p>METHODS: Neglecting trauma, infants die naturally from either respiratory causes R (breathing stops first) or cardiac causes C (heart stops beating first). An hypothesized dominant X-linked allele with frequency p = 1/3, that is protective against acute anoxic encephalopathy, predicted the 50% male excess of R. Given the ~ 0% male excess for cardiac deaths C, and assuming equal death risk for females by R and C, their average predicts a 25% male excess for equal numbers of infant males and females at risk. Thus, 5 males would die for each 4 females dying from all causes, predicting a male fraction of 5/9 = 0.55556.</p><p>RESULTS: Vital statistics for gender of children under 5 years at risk of dying and their corresponding mortality are obtained from the U.S.A. and multiple European countries. For 17 data sets from 15 countries, we total over 1.2 Billion child-years at risk and over 2.6 million child deaths. The observed total under 5 year male fraction, correcting for the nominal 5% male livebirth excess, is 0.55633, virtually as predicted. </p><p>CONCLUSIONS: An X-linked dominant allele protective against respiratory failure, predicts accurately the 5/9 male fraction of all child mortality under 5 years. DNA study of SIDS can identify the candidate X-linked gene locus.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2015-12-17T00:00:00.000+00:00Violence Risk Assessment Practices in Denmark: A Multidisciplinary National Survey<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p> With a quadrupling of forensic psychiatric patients in Denmark over the past 20 years, focus on violence risk assessment practices across the country has increased. However, information is lacking regarding Danish risk assessment practice across professional disciplines and clinical settings; little is known about how violence risk assessments are conducted, which instruments are used for what purposes, and how mental health professionals rate their utility and costs. As part of a global survey exploring the application of violence risk assessment across 44 countries, the current study investigated Danish practice across several professional disciplines and settings in which forensic and high-risk mental health patients are assessed and treated. In total, 125 mental health professionals across the country completed the survey. The five instruments that respondents reported most commonly using for risk assessment, risk management planning and risk monitoring were Broset, HCR-20, the START, the PCL-R, and the PCL:SV. Whereas the HCR-20 was rated highest in usefulness for risk assessment, the START was rated most useful for risk management and risk monitoring. No significant differences in utility were observed across professional groups. Unstructured clinical judgments were reported to be faster but more expensive to conduct than using a risk assessment instrument. Implications for clinical practice are discussed.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2015-12-17T00:00:00.000+00:00Series of Nine Cases of Axial Displacement of Distal Tibial and/or Fibular Shafts from Aircraft Crashes with Proposal of Potential Mechanisms<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p> Previously, a pair of aircraft crash fatalities was reported by Byard and Tsokos involving extreme trauma to the lower legs with avulsion of the musculature and extrusion of the distal tibial shaft through the inferior aspect of the feet and shoes. This report was important to both the forensics and the injury prevention fields because it demonstrates a finding that may help to indicate not only the severity and nature/direction of an impact but also the position of the extremities at the time of collision with the terrain. Thus, here are reported an additional nine cases out of a larger series of 1182 aircraft fatalities (0.7%) with similar findings and discuss the biomechanical origins of such injuries.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2015-12-17T00:00:00.000+00:00en-us-1