Sure, you may watch a lot of TV crime dramas, but that doesn't mean you're ready to put on the gloves and perform an autopsy yourself. Take Dr. G's quiz to see how much you know about forensics.
A body is brought into the lab with a gunshot wound to the head. Investigators can't determine whether it was suicide or murder. Before beginning the exam, what's the first thing you should do?
- clean the area of the wound
- take full body pictures
- review the facts of the case gathered by field investigators
- extract the bullet
Next up, the external exam. Why is it imperative to perform an external exam on a victim of a possible murder?
- to determine how the deceased interacted with other people and/or their environment before death
- to determine what natural disease is present
- to look for evidence of drug and alcohol use
- to determine the exact time the person died
What type of trace evidence can be collected from the body during an external exam?
- clothing that can reveal clues about the time of death
- teeth can be removed to help determine the identity of the victim
- nasal swabs taken to help determine levels of heroin and cocaine in the body
- fibers, hair, soil and fingernail clippings, which are often removed to test for DNA under the nails
A suicide note is found. What one criticial clue should you look for to help determine if this victim took his or her own life?
- Nothing. The suicide note is all you need.
- You should review the victim's medical records to determine if there's a history of a terminal disease.
- a contact gunshot wound, suggesting there was gun-to-skin contact
- Make sure the crime scene investigation shows that the gun was no longer in the hand of the victim.
If a tight-contact gunshot wound is found, what should you look for to confirm the case was most likely a suicide?
- human tissue on the barrel of the gun
- the victim's fingerprints on the gun
- gun residue on the bone beneath the gunshot wound
- all of the above
A man dies after complaining of a terrible headache. His health history reveals drug use, diabetes and high blood pressure. Based on circumstances, what can you suggest as the possible cause of death?
- drug overdose
- heart disease
- any of the above
The internal autopsy reveals a bladder terribly distended with urine. What could this point to?
- The victim ingested a lot of water before his or her death.
- The victim wasn't processing urine correctly, thus infecting his body with toxins.
- The victim was in a coma for a period of time before dying.
- The victim died quickly before he had a chance to relieve himself.
Before the brain is examined during the autopsy, what needs to be done to it?
- It needs to be compared to another human brain.
- Its circumference needs to be measured.
- It needs to be disinfected.
- It needs to be weighed.
During the examination of the brain, you notice a subarachnoid hemorrhage concentrated at the base with no evidence of internal scalp contusion. What might this suggest?
- That the victim died from blunt-force trauma to the head.
- Nothing; it's often seen as a result of poor dissection technique.
- The victim died from a brain aneurysm.
- That the victim had brain cancer.
What is the most obvious physical symptom of bleeding brain aneurysm?
- bloody nose
- incredibly severe headhaches
A man has a seizure, falls into a coma and dies. Doctors say he died from a heart attack caused by amphetamine use, which they found traces of in his urine. What organ do you focus on during the autopsy.
- the brain, because amphetamine use alters brain chemistry
- the stomach, which shrinks during drug use
- the heart, since doctors suggest he died from a heart attack
- the spleen, which is affected during amphetamine use
In cases where it's suggested that the death is amphetamine-related, what should you be looking for?
- dilated pupils
- thinning of the victim's blood
- signs of seizure
- heart damage brought on by lack of blood and oxygen to the heart
During the autopsy, you detect a narrow artery that is blocked. What might this suggest?
- that the death not have been amphetamine-related
- the victim had high cholesterol
- the victim was a chronic smoker
- that the victim was a chronic heroin user
Because the hospital found traces of amphetamines in the victim's urine -- even though that isn't what led to his death -- what's your next step?
- Report the hospital for medical error.
- Do no other testing. Case closed.
- Check the blood that was collected at autopsy for amphetamines.
- Retest the urine to confirm the hospital's test were false positives. Then test his admission blood to see if he was under the influence of amphentamines.