Doctor in forensic pathology: to make light of the tragic events

Médecin en pathologie judiciaire: faire la lumière sur les événements tragiques

The recent discoveries in the folder tragic sisters Carpentier would not have been possible without the essential work of forensic pathologists, a specialized branch of medicine that aims to elucidate the worst scenes one could imagine.

“The autopsy is used to demonstrate the presence of internal lesions or on the body, and our expertise in forensic pathology allows us to characterize the injuries, and the nature,” says Dr. Yann Dazé, a physician specializing in forensic pathology, laboratory of forensic sciences and forensic medicine of Quebec in an interview with TVA News.

Up to a certain extent, the autopsy carried out by these medical specialists can also help to shed light on the circumstances of the tragic events, such as the murder of the little Romy and Norah Carpentier.

“At the time, the doctors in forensic pathology are able to make the distinction between accidental injuries and those inflicted by a third party,” says Dr. Dazé, with the proviso that they work hand-in-hand with the police and the coroner, if applicable.

A post-mortem examination, a history

To perform a post-mortem examination, the pathologist, the court must have enough information to be able to do its job, but not too much to not be biased. This line is sometimes very thin.

“An autopsy is an examination of the body and it is an act of diagnosis. Before a doctor examines you, he collects a story and it is the same thing for an autopsy. It is dangerous to make an autopsy completely blind,” explains Dr. Dazé.

He mentions, however, that if an autopsy is performed without any information beforehand, the doctor may misinterpret some things.

Although several elements of surveys may get a response during this examination, forensic pathology is not “capable, in the state of the current science to determine the precise moment of death”.

“Generally speaking, doctors rely on changes in post-mortem observed on the remains to give an estimate of the amount of time that is evenly spaced between the death and the discovery of the body,” says Dr. Dazé.

The full interview with Dr Yann Dazé is at the top of the page.

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