Forensic pathology
Forensic autopsy report
External examination

Author: Terrill L. Tops, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 11 January 2017, last major update January 2013

Copyright: (c) 2003-2017, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.

PubMed search: autopsy external exam

Cite this page: External examination . PathologyOutlines.com website. http://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/forensicsautopsyexternal.html. Accessed January 16th, 2017.
Overall
  • State body weight, height, age, body temperature, rigor, and lividity
Head / neck
  • Describe hair color, facial hair, eye color, oral cavity, ear canals, nose, lips, and teeth
Torso
  • Describe chest, abdomen, back, anus, and genitalia
Extremities
  • Describe upper / lower limbs, and fingernails / toenails
Miscellaneous
  • Describe tattoos, ID tags, medical / surgical intervention, etc...
Clothing
  • Describe any defects to support cause of death (COD)
Body surface
  • State anything to suggest evidence of cause of death, such as: gunshot wounds, blunt trauma, sharp force injury, illicit drug residue, anasarca, obesity, emaciation, sexual assault

Evidence of injury (examples)
General
  • This section usually contains both external and internal descriptions of injury
Gunshot wounds (GSW)
  • List each GSW trajectory separately, determine how many entry (penetrating) / exit (perforation) wounds, range of fire, soot / stippling, trajectory, recovery of projectile(s), state in proper order of anatomic landmarks injured by each GSW, hemorrhage, etc.
Blunt force injuries from motor vehicle accident (MVA)
  • Trace evidence collected on body (e.g., paint chips or glass), pattern contusions / abrasions, fractures, lacerations, avulsions, hemorrhage, etc.
Stab wounds
  • Cuts, incisions, defense wounds, determine the knife's sharp verses blunt end in each skin wound, depth of wound, organs affected, hemorrhage, etc.
Additional injuries
  • Minor lesions that are attributed by the mechanism or cause of death