Forensic medicine investigates all unnatural deaths on behalf of the public prosecutor's office, be they
these are traffic accidents, homicides, suicides, medical treatment errors or sudden, unexpected deaths. Very often, in the case of unclear deaths, it must be clarified whether third party involvement can be ruled out. Or in the case of traffic accidents, for example, who was driving the vehicle or whether alcohol and/or drugs were involved. The results do not, as is often assumed, incriminate only the persons involved, but, on the contrary, exonerate them. The task of forensic medicine is to provide clarity. In doing so, it works closely with the police.
In order to meet the latest technical as well as socio-political requirements, a broadly diversified investigation apparatus is needed. Forensic medicine has developed considerably in recent years. An institute usually consists of the medical department, traffic medicine, a genetic department for DNA clarification, hair analysis and forensic psychiatry. The most recent milestone and now indispensable methods are imaging techniques (see www.virtopsy.com) such as computer tomography, MRI and 3D surface scanning. However, the specialists in forensic medicine do not only examine deceased persons, but also victims of violent crimes (rapes, brawls, etc.) or take blood samples from drivers of vehicles.
The task of us human preparators is mainly to perform the autopsy in close cooperation with the doctor.
the autopsy in close cooperation with the physician. We play a leading role in the organization and
and execution of the autopsy, as the doctor must be able to rely on our precise working methods.
on our precise work. A clean and correct recovery of the corpse after the autopsy is very important to us.
After the examination, we hand over the deceased to the undertakers or the relatives.
to the morticians or the relatives in such a way that the autopsy has not left any traces
and nothing stands in the way of a dignified farewell. Even in the case of accidents that cause major injuries, we make every effort to close them and reconstruct the injured body.
In addition to autopsies, there are many other tasks for the human taxidermist, such as: Receiving the deceased and, after the examination, handing them over to the morticians, preparing and assisting with student courses, commercial tasks (statistics, ordering), but also the production of preparations suitable for court by means of
enzymatic or chemical methods. An extremely important task is also the proper management of evidence, which must be stored until a specified date, as well as its proper disposal after the expiration of the storage obligation. In addition, there is the maintenance and servicing of equipment and instruments. In addition to the main activity of human preparators, the performance of autopsies, the additional tasks can also vary from institute to institute, since not every operation covers the same large topographic areas, nor is every institute affiliated with a university. However, this diversity of our profession should not be seen as a disadvantage, but rather as an opportunity to continuously develop and adapt to the respective needs! Necessity of approval is regulated by the cantonal health law).
The Institute of Clinical Pathology of the University of Zurich, to give an example, is responsible for the entire range of morphological diagnostics, as well as for education and training in the field of pathology.
Therefore, there are also various student courses. One of the main focuses of the institute is clinically oriented research using molecular methods. The Institute of Clinical Pathology consists of the departments of Biopsy/Autopsy, Cytology, Pedopathology, Neuropathology and Molecular Pathology (Diagnostics/Research). The Cancer Registry of the Cantons of Zurich and Zug, which is run jointly with the Institute for Social and Preventive Medicine
and Zug has an important function in the documentation of tumors and incidence of cancer.
The aim of the Institute is to provide highly specialized diagnostics at university level. For this purpose, the Institute can be accredited according to the standards ISO 15189 and ISO/IEC 17025 as well as ISO/IEC 17020. The Institute of Clinical Pathology thus exercises a center function for pathology. At the same time, the institute strives for high performance in clinical (patient-oriented) research and teaching.
Autopsies are performed by a small team (a human preparator and a resident accompanied by a senior physician