Head Wound

Stabbed in the temple with a butcher knife. X-rays show position of knife and depth of penetration. The victim never lost consciousness at the time and gave a dying declaration to police identifying his attacker.

R.C.M.P.

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When a human dies, the body shuts down in stages. The time of somatic death is the time pathologists are interested in. Somatic death is the time that the body as a whole stops functioning. Cellular death comes later, this is the time where the cells stop functioning. Hypostasis occurs after the heart stops pumping blood, and the blood goes to the lower parts of the body (due to gravity). It is at this time where body parts become a bluish or pale colour. The external temperature lowers during hypostasis, but it does not assist in determining the time of death. Autopsies are normally performed by local hospital pathologists.
When a human dies, the body shuts down in stages. The time of somatic death is the time pathologists are interested in. Somatic death is the time that the body as a whole stops functioning. Cellular death comes later, this is the time where the cells stop functioning. Hypostasis occurs after the heart stops pumping blood, and the blood goes to the lower parts of the body (due to gravity). It is at this time where body parts become a bluish or pale colour. The external temperature lowers during hypostasis, but it does not assist in determining the time of death. Autopsies are normally performed by local hospital pathologists.

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Determining the time of death based on temperature depends mainly on the environment of the body. Upon death, the core temperature remains at approximately 37 degrees Celsius for one to two hours, then drops 1 to 1.5 degrees per hour. However, this depends on many factors such as bacterial infection of the deceased, hypothermia, or other temperature affecting conditions. If there is a high temperature in the surrounding area (e.g. turning up the heat in a room), the time of death as determined by core temperature may appear more recent than it actually was.
Determining the time of death based on temperature depends mainly on the environment of the body. Upon death, the core temperature remains at approximately 37 degrees Celsius for one to two hours, then drops 1 to 1.5 degrees per hour. However, this depends on many factors such as bacterial infection of the deceased, hypothermia, or other temperature affecting conditions. If there is a high temperature in the surrounding area (e.g. turning up the heat in a room), the time of death as determined by core temperature may appear more recent than it actually was.

© CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • Develop enthusiasm and continuing interest in the study of science
  • Describe how the field of human biology relates to forensic science
  • Describe examples of the application of technology in society

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