Forensic pathology is a branch of medicine concerned with determining cause of death, usually for criminal law cases and civil law cases in some jurisdictions. The word forensics is derived from the Latin forēnsis meaning public or forum. The word pathology literally means study of suffering. A forensic pathologist is a medical doctor who has completed training in anatomical pathology and who has subsequently sub-specialized in forensic pathology. A forensic pathologist performs autopsies/ post mortem examinations to determine the cause of death (the pathologic process, injury, or disease that directly results in or initiates a series of events which lead to a person's death, such as a bullet wound to the head, exsanguination due to a stab wound, manual or ligature strangulation, myocardial infarction due to coronary artery disease, etc.) and (in the USA) the 'manner of death' (the circumstances surrounding the cause of death, which in most jurisdictions include homicide, accident, natural, suicide and undetermined). The autopsy also provides an opportunity for other issues raised by the death to be addressed, such as the collection of trace evidence or determining the identity of the deceased.


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