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There are several medico-legal issues justify the need for post mortem examinations when death occurs.
Post mortem examination is important in order to ensure that justice is served in respect of the deceased, the accused, the next of keen, and the respective insurance companies.
It is important as a tool to establish the cause of death and to determine the contributing factors.
Post mortem examination does not only serve as tool to identify a criminal, but it may also exempt a suspect or an accused from criminal involvement.
All data and results obtained from post mortem examinations can also be used in policy making and preventive measures such as reducing the risk of road traffic accident related deaths, workplace related accidents and so on.
Circumstances that require an autopsy
The autopsy is conducted on the request of investigating officers in cases of sudden, suspicious un-natural deaths and which are labelled as MLC cases. The circumstances that require almost always an autopsy:
- Fire deaths, when the body is altered by fire.
- Homicides or any cases in which another person is in anyway a possible factor in the death.
- Apparent suicides that are without clear evidence of intent, such as those without a note.
- Road traffic accidents and railway accidents. In aircraft crashes.
- Occupation related deaths.
- Unwitnessed "accidents."
- Accidents in which natural disease cannot be ruled out as a factor.
- Deaths of persons in government custody.
- Sudden, unexpected deaths.
- Deaths during medical or surgical intervention.
- Any other cases which law enforcement agency deems fit for post-mortem examination.
Among others, the purposes of post mortem examinations also include;
- To identify the deceased (race, gender, etc.)
- To estimate the time since death
- To identify and to document the circumstances leading to death (nature of physical injuries)
- To determine the cause of death, i.e. criminal act or natural death
- To determine any influence of drugs or poisons prior to death
Purpose of conducting post mortem examination
A number of things that may be determined from an autopsy are:
- Establish decedent's identity.
- Establish the cause of death.
- Determine the mechanism of death.
- Confirm the manner of death.
- Confirm medical history.
- Separate complicating medical factors.
- Rule out disease or factors harmful to public health.
- Facilitate adequate photography of wounds, if required.
- Correlate wounding and object producing the wounds.
- Determine time interval between wounds received and death.
- Establish sequence of events.
- Retrieve an article involved in mode of death, such as a bullet.
- Obtain and examine trace evidence such as hairs, stains, and seminal fluid.
- Obtain specimens for toxicology.
- Establish order of death in situations where more than one family member has been killed.
- To document all injuries in order to answer any future questions that is unknown at the time of the autopsy.
The process of post mortem examination will be conducted carefully and in accordance to the provided guidelines in order to ensure that it is carried our professionally, impartially and within the jurisdiction of the law and religion.
When discussing the issue of post mortem examinations and its relationship to Islam, critical approach is applied by the ‘ulama’ and Islamic scholars throughout the world
As a funeral service we will always prioritize customers needs and wants.
Dissection of a deceased Muslim can only be conducted if the situation highly demands the procedures (‘dharurat’) such as criminal cases in which post mortem is highly necessary, or in a circumstance where the deceased had swallowed valuable items, or the deceased was pregnant with her fetus is still alive tis is in the sense of respect to the deceased must be taken into account while conducting post mortem examinations.
Uganda Funeral Services will see to that all the above is handled on behalf of the client.
Frequently Asked Questions
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