Forensic Pathology Historical Roots and Modern Evolution

  • Stefan Pollak


When defining the position of a scientific discipline, it is important to remember its roots, to analyze its current state and to meet new challenges resulting from social evolution. The roots of modern forensic medicine and especially forensic pathology date back to the second half of the 19th century. Since then, circumstances of life, the manifestations of crime and thus the issues of forensic pathology have changed considerably. Some incidents such as neonaticides have become rare nowadays. This involves the risk that basic knowledge regarding formerly all-important topics may slide into obscurity. On the other hand, some new pathomorphologic conditions have to be assessed in forensic autopsies, such as sequelae of high-tech medical treatment and changes due to the prolonged survival of severely injured persons. Other problems result from multimorbid patients in a society having a disproportionate number of old people who often suffer from dementia and even succumb to minor trauma. Considering the role of forensic pathology in the future, it will be crucial to continually strengthen the scientific basis through high-quality research work.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Forensic MedicineUniversity of FreiburgFreiburgGermany

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