Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Forensic Medicine

Forensic Medicine. The frequent combination of medical with legal questions upon inquiries relative to suspected murder, doubtful sanity, and other matters of a like nature, has given rise to a sort of mixed science known as forensic medicine or medical jurisprudence, which may be considered as common ground to legal and medical practitioners, for it teaches the application of every branch of medical knowledge to the purposes of the law; hence its limits are, on the one hand, the requirements of the law, and, on the other, the whole range of medicine. Forensic medicine is also occasionally required in cases of a civil nature, such as questions of lunacy, or unsoundness of mind, or cases of nuisances injurious to health. It is, however, more frequently in requisition in criminal trials, where the evidence of an expert is frequently required. Thus, in a trial for murder, where the evidence is circumstantial, it is almost always' necessary to adduce evidence by a medical practitioner as to the appearance of the body, and the results of a post-mortem examination. So far as he attempts to account for the symptoms or appearances observed by him, his evidence is merely opinionative. (See the works of Taylor, Guy, Beck, and Tidy, on this subject.)