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CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION TO FORENSIC MEDICINE


LEGAL MEDICINE

Is a branch of medicine which deals with the application of


medical knowledge to the purposes of law and in the
administration of justice.

It is the application of basic and clinical, medical and


paramedical sciences to elucidate legal matters.

encompasses a variety of fields in forensic science such as


pathology, anthropology, odontology, toxicology, entomology,
and others.

FORENSIC MEDICINE

concerns with the application of medical science to elucidate


legal problems.

MEDICAL JURISPRUDENCE

denotes knowledge of law in relation to the practice of medicine.

SCOPE OF LEGAL MEDICINE


The scope of legal medicine is quite broad and encompassing. It is the
application of medical and paramedical sciences as demanded by law and
administration of justice. The knowledge of the nature and extent of wounds has
been acquired in surgery, abortion in gynecology, sudden death and effects of
trauma in pathology, etc. aside from having knowledge of the basic medical
sciences, like anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, physics and other allied sciences.
NATURE OF THE STUDY OF LEGAL MEDICINE
A knowledge of legal medicine means the ability to acquire facts, the power
to arrange those facts and their logical order, and to draw a conclusion from the
facts which may be useful in the administration of justice.
A physician who specializes or is involved primarily with medico-legal duties
is known as medical jurist.
HISTORY OF LEGAL MEDICINE
WORLDWIDE SCALE
Imhotep (2980 B.C.)
- Chief physician and architect of King Zoser of the third dynasty in Egypt.
- Builder of the first pyramid
- The first recorded report of murder trial is written in clay tablet.
The Code of Hammurabi, the oldest code of law (2200 B.C.) included
legislation on adultery, rape, divorce, incest, abortion and violence.
Hippocrates (460-355 B.C.)
- discussed the lethality of wounds.
Chinese Materia Medica (about 300 B.C)
- gave information on poison including aconite, arsenic, and opium.
During the reign of Numa Pompilius in Rome (600 B.C.)
- that bodies of all women dying during confinement should immediately be
opened in order to save the childs life.
Antistius
- First Police Surgeon / Forensic Pathologist.

- performed autopsy to Julius Caesar (100-44 B.C.) He found out the Julius
Caesar suffered 23 wounds and only one penetrated the chest cavity.
Justinian (483-565 A.D.)
- mention that a physician is not an ordinary witness.
The first textbook in legal medicine was included in the Constituto
Criminalis Carolina which promulgated in 1532 during the reign of Emperor
Charles V in Germany.
Pope Innocent III (1209)
- issued an edict for the appointment of doctors to the courts for the
determination of the nature of wounds.
In China, Hsi Yuan Lu (Instructions to Coroner) was published. It is
a five volume book dealing with inquest, criminal abortion, infanticide, signs of
death, assault, suicide, hanging, strangling, drowning, burning, poisoning and
antidotes and examination of the dead.
Paulus Zacchias (1584-1659)
- Father of Forensic Medicine
- Papal physician
- published Questiones Medico-legales which dealt with the legal aspects of
wounds and the first chapter dealt with the detection of secret homicide.
Orfila (1787-1853)
- introduced chemical methods in toxicology.
- mentioned mineral, vegetable and animal poison in relation with physiology,
pathology and legal medicine in Traite des Poison.
- considered as the founder of modern toxicology.
IN THE PHILIPPINES
Dr. Rafael Genard y Mas, Chief Army Physician
-

Wrote the first medical textbook that includes pertinent instructions


related to medico-legal practice in 1858.
Medico-legal Laboratory

Was established in the City of Manila in 1895.


University of the Philippines

Created the Department of Legal Medicine & Ethics in 1919 with Dr. Sixto
delos Angeles as the Chief.

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On March 10, 1922, Philippine Legislature enacted Act no.

Incorporated in the Administrative Code as Sec. 2465, provided that DLM of


UP became a branch of the Dept. of Justice.
On December 10, 1937, Commonwealth Act of 181

Created the Division of Investigation under the Dept. of Justice.

Medico-Legal Section was made an integral part of the Division with Dr.
Gregorio T. Lantin as the Chief.

On March 3, 1939, Dept. of Legal Medicine of the College of Medicine,


UP was abolished and its functions were transferred to the Medico-Legal Section
of the Division of Investigation under the Dept. of Justice.
On July 4, 1942, Pres. Jose P. Laurel consolidated by Executive Order
all the different law-enforcement agencies and created the Bureau of
Investigation on July 8, 1944.

On June 18, 1949, R.A. 409 which was later on amended by R.A. 1934
provides (Sec. 38) for the creation of the Office of the Medical Examiners and
Criminal Investigation Laboratory under the Police Department of the City of
Manila.
Dr. Pedro Solis
-

Considered as the Father of Legal Medicine in the Philippines.

His book Legal Medicine contains the most extensive treatise and
teaching in Philippine Legal Medicine.
MEDICAL EVIDENCE
Evidence is the means, sanctioned by the Rules of Court, of ascertaining in a
judicial proceeding the truth respecting a matter of fact. If the means employed
to prove a fact is medical in nature then it becomes a medical evidence.
TYPES OF MEDICAL EVIDENCE

Real, Autoptic or Object Evidence

- it is and evidence that made known or addressed to the senses of the court.
The probative value of real evidence is the best and highest form of proof.

Testimonial Evidence

- form of evidence taken orally or in writing the answers to questions


profounded by the counsel and presiding officer of the court. A medical witness
can only testify on matters derived by his own perception.

Experimental Evidence

- a medical witness may permitted to conduct experiment on laboratory


animals to prove his allegations on certain poison he had previously stated in full
view of the court.

Documentary Evidence

- a written evidence presented to the court by the expect witness about the
subject matter in dispute.
Medical Documentary Evidence may be in form of:
A. Medical certification or report
1. Physical Exam report
2. Autopsy report
3. Exhumation report
4. Death certificate
5. Birth certificate
B. Medical Expert Opinion
- a physician on account of his training and expertise can give his own
opinion on a set of medical facts.
C. Deposition
- is a written record of evidence given orally and transcribed in writing for of
questions by the interrogation and the answers of his deponent and signed by the
latter.

Physical Evidence

- these are articles and materials which are necessary in crime investigation
and detection, this will aid in establishing the identities of the criminal and the
circumstances surrounding the commission of the crime.
KINDS OF EVIDENCE NECESSARY FOR CONVICTION

1. Direct Evidence that which proves the fact in dispute without the aid of
any inference or presumption. The evidence presented corresponds to the
precise or actual point at issue.

2. Circumstantial Evidence the proof of fact or facts from which, taken either
singly of collectively, the existence of a particular fact in dispute may be
inferred as a necessary or probable cause.

When is circumstantial evidence sufficient to produce conviction?


A. When there is more than one circumstance?
B. When the facts from which the inferences are derived are proven; and
C. When the combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce a
conviction beyond reasonable doubt.