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Death Scene Investigation: A Field Guide

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Death Scene Investigation: A Field Guide

This book provides concise direction for the death scene investigator, crime scene investigator, coroner, medical examiner, or anyone associated with the investigation of death.

By Scott A. Wagner,

ISBN: 9781420086768

Retail price: $79.95   $60.95



  • Uses a compact spiral-bound notebook format for convenient use in the field
  • Presents information in a concise outline form
  • Includes drug and disease information useful for non-medical personnel
  • Provides a medical glossary and extensive references
  • Contains over 150 photographs and diagrams to aid in investigation

    Each and every death scene presents new challenges to even the most seasoned investigator. Despite the unique nature of each scenario, using a standardized protocol is the key to ensuring consistent and accurate results. Death Scene Investigation: A Field Guide provides concise direction for the death scene investigator, crime scene investigator, coroner, medical examiner, or anyone associated with the investigation of death.

    Since the majority of deaths are due to natural causes, the book emphasizes these situations, yet also examines unnatural circumstances. It begins by providing a general overview of death investigation before delving into a chronological point-by-point analysis of the death scene. Topics discussed include how to assess the body at the scene, and how to investigate natural and unnatural deaths.

    Explores Various Causes

    Next, the text demonstrates how death manifests in various parts of the body. A section on traumatic injuries examines and demonstrates with color photographs blunt force, sharp force, and a host of other injuries that the death examiner is likely to confront.

    The book addresses identification methods and explores how to determine signs of resuscitation and previous surgeries. It concludes with a discussion of the purpose and performance of the autopsy and provides a survey of the different forensic experts that may become useful to the death investigator.

    Enhanced by numerous color photos, this volume is a direct, succinct handbook that is invaluable to those that confront the reality of death on a day-to-day basis. Its spiral-bound format makes it the perfect guide to take along to the scene.

    Table of Contents
    Purpose of the Death Investigation 
    Role of the Death Scene Investigator (DSI) 
    Philosophy of Death Investigation 
    Notification of a Death 
    Discovery of Deceased 
    The Body and the Scene
    Statutory Responsibilities 
    Confirm or Validate the Death 
    Securing the Death Scene 
    Evidence at the Death Scene 
    Documentation of the Scene and the Body 
    Documentation by Diagrams
    Forming Preliminary Opinions: Be Suspicious but Objective
    Examination of the Body at the Scene 
    Pathologist’s Role at the Scene
    Other Forensic Experts at the Scene
    Assessment of the Body at the Scene
    Position of the Body at the Scene 
    Blood at the Scene 
    Vomitus at the Scene
    Physical Examination of the Body at the Scene
    Starting the Scene Assessment of the Body and Time of Death 
    Determining Time of Death by Scene Investigation 
    Other Decompositional Changes
    Detailed Physical Assessment of the Body at the Scene
    Common External Signs of Disease or Trauma 
    The Medical History and Medical Records
    Obtaining a Medical History at the Scene 
    Searching the Scene 
    Obtaining Medical Records or Information by Phone 
    Reviewing Medical Records 
    Natural Diseases and Death Investigation
    Sudden Death 
    Cardiac System 
    Respiratory System 
    Gastrointestinal Tract and Pancreas 
    Vascular System 
    Central Nervous System (CNS ) Disorders 
    Systemic Diseases 
    Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) / Acquired Immune
    Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) 
    Traumatic Injuries
    Blunt Force Injuries versus Sharp Force Injuries 
    Blunt Force Injuries 
    Sharp Force Injuries 
    Description of Wounds
    Fire Deaths and Thermal Injuries 
    Motor Vehicle Occupant Injuries 
    Pedestrian Injuries 
    Investigation of Childhood Fatalities and Child Abuse 
    Battered Child Syndrome 
    Shaken (Infant) Impact Syndrome 
    Neglect, a Crime of Omission 
    Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) 
    Identification Methods
    Collection of Evidence at the Scene
    Visual Identification
    Other Visual Methods of Identification
    “Softer” Forms of Identification
    Scientific Forms of Identification
    Crime Scene Evidence Collection
    Signs of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Treatment
    Key to Figure  
    Signs of Previous Surgeries and Procedures
    Key to Figure  
    The Medical-Legal Autopsy
    Purpose of the Autopsy 
    Misconceptions of the Autopsy 
    Jurisdiction and Permission for Autopsies 
    Death Investigations Requiring an Autopsy 
    The Autopsy: Assembling a Puzzle 
    External Examination of the Body 
    External Examination 
    Internal Examination 
    Forensic Experts 
    Accident Reconstructionist 
    Forensic Anthropologist 
    Forensic Botanist 
    Forensic Geologist 
    Crime Scene Technician 
    Criminalist and Criminalistics 
    Forensic Engineer 
    Forensic Entomologist 
    Forensic Pathologist 
    Forensic Odontologist (Dentist) 
    Forensic Radiologist 
    Questioned Documents Examiner 
    Appendix A: Medical Terminology
    Appendix B: Prescription Medicines

    Publication Date: 11/24/2008
    Number of Pages: 237

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