Department of Forensic Medicine

Department of Forensic Medicine

HIC LOCUS EST UBI MORS GAUDET SUCURRERE VITAM

Head of Department:

Professor, Chief Forensic Pathologist Peter Mygind Leth, DMSc
Tel. +45 6550 3003       
E-mail pleth@health.sdu.dk

Department Secretary:

Susanne Jørgensen
Tel. + 45 6550 3000       
E-mail sljorgensen@health.sdu.dk 

The Department has three sections:

Forensic Pathology
Autopsies and Pathology. Most of the work done here, is mainly financed by the State Police, and consists of autopsies, carried out according to the Health Legislation. This law dictates that physicians must report certain kinds of deaths to the police. The police requires a medical examination of the body, and on the basis of this, the police decides whether a forensic autopsy should be done. A forensic pathologist is carrying out the autopsy, which is followed by additional examinations, such as microscopic examination of organ changes, chemical tests in order to find possible content of alcohol, medicine or drugs. Microbiological examinations for virus or bacteria, anthropological examinations of the bones, and genetic examinations, which however are carried out at Department of Forensic Genetics at Copenhagen University, Crime Scene Investigations.
On request the Department of Forensic Medicine, Section for Forensic Pathology participates in the Police investigations in connection with suspicious deaths and homicide. Normally, investigations are only taking place there if the deceased is still at the crime scene, but under special circumstances, the Police may also require a forensic investigation of the crime scene after the deceased has been removed to the hospital. At crime scene investigations, causes of death, the way of death and time of death may be determined if possible. Depending on the seriousness of the case, a medical examination will normally take place, and in special cases an emergency autopsy will take place immediately after the crime scene investigation. 
Clinical Forensic Medicine. An increasing part of the deparment's work is examinations of living persons. The police requires a forensic pathologist in cases of rape or other kinds of violence, sexual abuse or mistreatment of children. The Department is also examining assumed perpetraters of rape and other violence. Examination of victims takes place at Centre for Victims of Sexual Assault at Odense University Hospital or Kolding Hospital, and examination of children under 15 years takes place in cooperation with paediatricians from Socialpaediatrical Clinic at the Hospitals.
Forensic Chemistry

Section of  Forensic Chemistry  is situated at the address J.B. Winslows Vej 17A & 17B, 5000 Odense C, close to Odense University Hospital. The personnel consists of 1 leader of the department, 5 forensic chemists and 8 lab technicians plus a number of temporary employed lab technicians.

Analyzes are required by the police and the judicial system within the area covered by the institute, i.e. Funen and Southern Jutland. Analyzes are made in order to identify and define the concentration of medicaments, drugs and other unknown narcotics. Normally, screening analyzes are made by gaschromatography with masspectromatry technology (GC-MS) in order to identify unknown content of drugs. After valuing the concentrations, verification is made by high pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) technology, compared to known standards. Positive as well as negative findings will be reported in forensic declarations that in the end may be used as evidence in Court.
Forensic Anthropology
Unit of Anthropology under Department of Forensic Medicine, University of Southern Denmark in Odense - called ADBOU - is dealing with cases of forensic anthropology investigation. Furthermore, ADBOU is one of in total two state institutions in Danmark, that store human bones from archaeological excavations for the museums. The Collection consits of more thatn 16.000 skeletons, primarily from the Danish Middle Ages and the period after the Reformation. Originally, ADBOU was short for Antropological DataBase at Odense University (now University of Southern Denmark). Nowadays it has become a name. ADBOU links to its own homeage (www.adbou.dk), where information about excavations, cemetaries, registrations and reports can be found among other things.

Research areas within Forensic Medicine:

Forensic pathology
Forensic toxicology
Alcohol and drug abuse
Forensic anthropology

FORENSIC MEDICINE is normally defined as "nature science and medical science serving the judicial system". Forensic medicine must be absolutely INDEPENDENT of authorities, public institutions and private persons. Forensic medicine is dealing with documentation of facts, and therefor we do not treat patients. Treating patients might influence the independent estimation of a situation.

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