Pathology, compared to forensic pathology, refers to a specialized field of medicine that is focused on the study of diseases. This is a method of studying conducted through an autopsy. By adding the word forensics to its name, the whole concept changes and you basically have that branch of pathology that determines the cause of death of a corpse through an autopsy that is made at the request of a medical examiner or coroner. That is forensic pathology.
There are many roles that forensics pathologists have. These include determining the cause of death, identifying the presence or absence of disease using tissue samples, forensic examination of the body, collaborative collection of evidence such as blood and hair samples and then passed on to toxicologists for analysis, acting as an expert witness in court cases, examining post mortem injuries and wounds, and collaborate investigations with forensic odontologists and physical anthropologists for body identification. All of these are performed in a painstaking and meticulous manner with zero percent error. Overall, the major component of forensic pathology is in the conduct of making autopsy examinations to both the internal and external organs in order to discover the cause of death. Tissue samples are taken from the bodies and studied under a microscope to establish the underlying pathological basis for the death.
One of the fields of specialized study that closely works with forensic pathology is forensic anthropology. Contrary to the former, forensic anthropology is the process of investigating what takes place with human remains that have been decomposed beyond recognition or scrapped of any remaining DNA.
Forensic anthropologists differ from forensic pathologist in that the latter is someone who focuses on the soft tissues of the body remains in order to conduct autopsies and determine cause of death. For this field, cause of death should be accurate as to whether it was because of suicide, by accident, of natural causes and the like. Although regular medical doctors can conduct these autopsies, a forensic pathologist has more training and experience in pathological issues and have specialized training in the field of forensic pathology.
Undergraduate courses in the field of forensic pathology already cover the whole range of anthropology in general with a few linguistic courses added. Masters and PhD programs are supplemented with more work and research. The postgraduate education for the application and techniques that are used in forensic pathology can already be obtained at the PhD level or while studying the Masters Degree.
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