Forschungsarbeit: Forensics, Radiology, Society – X-Rays: Tool and Document

Forensics, Radiology, Society – X-Rays: Tool and Document

Forschungsergebnisse aus dem Institut für Rechtsmedizin der Universität Hamburg, volume 27

Hamburg , 288 pages

ISBN 978-3-8300-7886-9 (print)
ISBN 978-3-339-07886-5 (eBook)

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During the last years, the individual specialities of forensic medicine and diagnostic imaging have increasingly cooperated to create the interdisciplinary entity of forensic radiology. The book demonstrates the potential of this speciality: It has become evident that the combination of diagnostic imaging and forensic medicine solves more cases of death of unknown cause than each alone, and that a radiograph can be read like a document describing forces of modern time and its effects on current society. The posters of 6 exhibitions demonstrate the actual cause of death and its preceding violence. They aim at the medical as well as the interested lay-public: Causes of natural and of violent death become visible. For instance, stab- and gunshot wounds into a person’s rear are contradictory of self-defence. Stab wounds with penetration of ribs indicate great force and, therefore, intentional homicide. The same is valid for multiple stabs, stabs through silicon prosthesis of a mammoplasty, and stabs into the breast cage of a defenceless toddler.

X-rays of the living can indicate preceding torture. X-rays are part of the security technology employed at airports and countries’ borders. They help to detect drugs, explosives, and human stow-aways. The x-ray examination of the deceased visualises success and failure of the preceding therapy. After reanimation, the position of a tracheal tube, the effects of a vascular puncture, and potential fractures of the breast cage can be evaluated. After cardiac and aortic interventions, the procedure of choice and its effects can be seen. Concerning general or intensive care, diagnostic imaging shows the position of urinary catheters, gastric tubes and vascular catheters. Prenatal diagnostic imaging can determine the sex of the foetus and possible malformations; and in peri- and postnatal death, it may show the effects of iatrogenic actions, and later on, of child-abuse.

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