forensic medicine

GC: n

S: SDir – (last access: 5 February 2021); NIH – (last access: 5 February 2021).

N: 1. – forensic (adj): “pertaining to or suitable for courts of law,” 1650s, with -ic + stem of Latin forensis “of a forum, place of assembly,” related to forum “public place”. Later used especially in sense of “pertaining to legal trials,” as in forensic medicine (1845). Related: Forensical (1580s).
– medicine (n): c. 1200, “medical treatment, cure, healing,” also (early 14c.) “substance used in treatment of a disease, medicinal potion or plaster,” also used figuratively of spiritual remedies, from Old French medecine (Modern French médicine) “medicine, art of healing, cure, treatment, potion” and directly from Latin medicina “the healing art, medicine; a remedy,” also used figuratively.
This is perhaps originally ars medicina “the medical art,” from fem. of medicinus (adj.) “of a doctor,” from medicus “a physician” (from PIE root *med- “take appropriate measures”); though OED says evidence for this path is wanting and suggests derivation directly from medicus. The sense of “practice, theory, or study of curing, alleviating, or preventing disease in humans” is from mid-14c.
2. The application of theoretical and practical medical knowledge and skill to the solution of problems encountered in the administration of justice.
3. Forensic medicine, the science that deals with the application of medical knowledge to legal questions.
4. The use of medical testimony in law cases predates by more than 1,000 years the first systematic presentation of the subject by the Italian Fortunatus Fidelis in 1598. Forensic medicine was recognized as a specialty early in the 19th century.
5. The primary tool of forensic medicine has always been the autopsy. Frequently used for identification of the dead, autopsies may also be conducted to determine the cause of death. In cases of death caused by a weapon, for example, the forensic pathologist—by examining the wound—can often provide detailed information about the type of weapon used as well as important contextual information. (In a death by gunshot, for example, he can determine with reasonable accuracy the range and angle of fire.) Forensic medicine is a major factor in the identification of victims of disaster, such as landslide or plane crash. In cause-of-death determinations, forensic pathologists can also significantly affect the outcome of trials dealing with insurance and inheritance.

S: 1. OED – (last access: 5 February 2021). 2. TERMIUM PLUS – (last access: 5 February 2021). 4&5. EncBrit – (last access: 5 February 2021).

SYN: medical jurisprudence, legal medicine.

S: TERMIUM PLUS – (last access: 5 February 2021)

CR: crime, criminology, forensics, forensic science, medical examiner.