In this lesson, students will be challenged with determining the causes of death, which is the most important task a pathologist can perform during the course of an autopsy. In terms of legality, it is a necessity for law enforcement to be able to prove beyond any doubt that the deceased has died of means other than natural causes.
While students believe that determining cause of death is often obvious and should result in highly-observable, outward signs of trauma, in reality, proving the exact nature of death and how it happened can sometimes be a difficult task. There might not necessarily be visible signs of how death occurred and likewise there might not be any history of ill health to fall back on as a means of diagnosis. In this moment, the body itself serves as a critical crime scene...and from scene call first responders, to medical investigators, to the table of the forensic pathologists, skilled personnel are there to piece the story together.