In contemporary forensic medicine, in India, the label of complete autopsy applies to a
whole range of post-mortem examinations which can present consid- erable differences in
view of the intellectual resources, time, personnel and material means they involve. From
various sources available in India and elsewhere, stems the idea that, whatever the type
of case and its apparent obviousness, a complete autopsy implies opening the abdomen, the
thorax and the skull and dissecting the organs they contain. Since the nineteenth century,
procedural approaches of complete autopsies have competed with a practical sense of
completeness which requires doctors to think their cases according to their history.
Relying on two case studies observed in the frame of an ethnographic study of eleven
months in medical colleges of North India, the article suggests that the practical
completeness of autopsies is attained when all aspects of the history of the case are made
sense of with regard to the observation of the body. Whereas certain autopsies are
considered obvious and imply a reduced amount of time in the autopsy room, certain others
imply successive redefinitions of what complete implies and the realisation of certain
actions which would not have been performed otherwise.
This article aims to shed light on the post-mortem practices for
Palestinian dead bodies when there is suspicion of human rights violations by
Israeli military forces. By focusing on the case of Omran Abu Hamdieh from
Al-Khalil (Hebron), the article explores the interactions between Palestinian
social-institutional agents, Israeli military forces and international
medico-legal agents. Drawing on ethnographic and archival data, the article
explores how the intersectionality between the various controlling powers is
inscribed over the Palestinian dead bodies and structures their death rites. The
article claims that inviting foreign medico-legal experts in the Palestinian
context could reveal the true death story and the human rights violations, but
also reaffirms the sovereignty of the Israeli military forces over the
Palestinian dead and lived bodies.
Marco Aurelio Guimarães, Raffaela Arrabaça Francisco, Martin Evison, Edna Sadayo Miazato Iwamura, Carlos Eduardo Palhares Machado, Ricardo Henrique Alves da Silva, Maria Eliana Castro Pinheiro, Diva Santana and Julie Alvina Guss Patrício
Exhumation may be defined as the legally sanctioned excavation and recovery of the
remains of lawfully buried or – occasionally – cremated individuals, as distinct from
forensic excavations of clandestinely buried remains conducted as part of a criminal
investigation and from unlawful disinterment of human remains, commonly referred to as
bodysnatching. The aim of this article is to review the role of exhumation – so defined –
in the activities of CEMEL, the Medico-Legal Centre of the Ribeirão Preto Medical
School-University of São Paulo, in international, regional and local collaborations.
Exhumations form part of routine forensic anthropology casework; scientific research in
physical and forensic anthropology; and forensic casework conducted in collaboration with
the Brazilian Federal Police; and are carried out as part of humanitarian investigations
into deaths associated with the civil–military dictatorship of 1964 to 1985. This article
aims to offer a non-technical summary – with reference to international comparative
information – of the role of exhumation in investigative and scientific work and to
discuss developments in their historical and political context.
Embryo research, cloning, assisted conception, neonatal care, saviour siblings, organ transplants, drug trials – modern developments have transformed the field of medicine almost beyond recognition in recent decades and the law struggles to keep up. In this highly acclaimed and very accessible book Margaret Brazier and Emma Cave provide an incisive survey of the legal situation in areas as diverse as fertility treatment, patient consent, assisted dying, malpractice and medical privacy. The sixth edition of this book has been fully revised and updated to cover the latest cases, from assisted dying to informed consent; legislative reform of the NHS, professional regulation and redress; European regulations on data protection and clinical trials; and legislation and policy reforms on organ donation, assisted conception and mental capacity. Essential reading for healthcare professionals, lecturers, medical and law students, this book is of relevance to all whose perusal of the daily news causes wonder, hope and consternation at the advances and limitations of medicine, patients and the law.
The most Gothic of acts – suicide in generic context
William Hughes and Andrew Smith
-mortem imperilment of the statesman’s body and chattels, however, was averted by way of a medico-legal inquest which, following statements from witnesses and a letter from the Duke of Wellington, ultimately concluded that Castlereagh’s suicide was not the result of deliberate and conscious choice but a consequence of a temporary period of insanity. 5
In the ‘Preface to Cantos VI, VII and VIII’ of Don Juan , Byron notes with particular distaste how Castlereagh’s elevated station in life – he was the second Marquess of Londonderry
challenged, vulnerable, perceived as different, and lacking capacity, but with
sufficient personal capital in the eyes of others to be worth defending.
A new medico-legal discourse in the early nineteenth century
While a non-medicalized legal discourse on idiocy subtly interwove public
notions of dim-wittedness into English jurisprudential theory, something very
different was happening in France, where idiocy had attracted greater medical
interest. Large institutionalisation programmes at the Salpêtrière and Bicêtre
in Paris had brought idiots, as well as the mentally ill
"Experience" and "theory" in debates over forensic knowledge and expertise in early twentieth-century China
these facilities that a range of activities
were carried out: certification and training of examiners, medical students,
and judicial officials; forensic investigation services for local and regional
authorities; and research on a range of medico-legal problems.20
Several Chinese-language works on legal medicine were produced during this period on the basis of translations from Japanese textbooks as well
as instruction by personnel of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police.21 These works
introduced readers to new understandings of the body, new conceptions of
This collection explores how concepts of intellectual or learning disability evolved from a range of influences, gradually developing from earlier and decidedly distinct concepts, including ‘idiocy’ and ‘folly’, which were themselves generated by very specific social and intellectual environments. With essays extending across legal, educational, literary, religious, philosophical, and psychiatric histories, this collection maintains a rigorous distinction between historical and contemporary concepts in demonstrating how intellectual disability and related notions were products of the prevailing social, cultural, and intellectual environments in which they took form, and themselves performed important functions within these environments. Focusing on British and European material from the middle ages to the late nineteenth century, this collection asks ‘How and why did these concepts form?’ ‘How did they connect with one another?’ and ‘What historical circumstances contributed to building these connections?’ While the emphasis is on conceptual history or a history of ideas, these essays also address the consequences of these defining forces for the people who found themselves enclosed by the shifting definitional field.
Willcox, who had provided so much forensic
Wood, The most remarkable woman in England.indd 200
testimony in the Pace case, wrote a medical opinion for the court
that depicted the novel as obscene and dangerous. His report
described lesbianism as a
form of unnatural vice known for thousands of years and fully
described in medico-legal works. It is well known to have debasing
effects on those practising it, of a mental, physical and moral
character. It leads to nervous instability and in some cases to
suicide. If widespread, it
Ahmed, Sarah and Jackie Stacey (eds) (2001), Thinking through the skin (London and New York: Routledge).
Angel, Gemma (2012), ‘The tattoo collectors: Inscribing criminality in nineteenth century France’, Bildwelten des Wissens [‘Präparate’ (prepared specimens)], 9.1 (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, Spring), 29–38.
— (2013), ‘Atavistic marks and risky practices: The tattoo in medico-legal debate 1850– 1950’, in K. Siena and J. Reinarz (eds), A medical history of skin: Scratching the surface (London: Pickering