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Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 1998 Dec;19(4):317-20.

Common errors in forensic pediatric pathology.

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Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, Little Rock 72215, USA.


Medicolegal autopsies in the pediatric age group occur with some frequency. Despite the time-honored and often quoted address by Professor Alan Moritz many years ago, which described mistakes in the forensic autopsy of adults, a comparable discussion of infants and children has not been forthcoming. In this review, ten categories of potential and actual errors are listed, some of which are similar to those given by Moritz. The smaller size of infants as well as their unique growth and development creates problems separate from those in adult autopsies and creates opportunities for mistakes in observation and interpretation. The thorough documentation of all findings, the gathering and proper storage of evidence, and the availability of essential materials (e.g., scene investigation data, complete medical records, all microscopic slides, total laboratory analyses--especially toxicology) help to preclude errors of both omission and commission.

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[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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