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Principles of Disease > Identifications of Human Beings > Flashcards

Flashcards in Identifications of Human Beings Deck (21)
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1

Why is identification important

Allows identification of a single unknown body
Identification of bodies in a mass fatality incident

2

Why should identification be done

Human rights
Civil Law (e.g. administration of estates)
Social function - “closure” for families
Assessment of injuries, (e.g. in transportation accidents, may assist authorities in reconstructing incident)

3

What should be considered in the Identification of a single unknown body

Are the remains human?
- Can be easily settled by visual inspection but may require more specialist analysis (e.g. anatomists/anthropologists or DNA testing)

4

Why can the determination of sex be tricky

Gender reassignment surgery
Where body is decomposed or burned, sexual characteristics may be obscured - examination for prostate gland/testes or uterus/ovaries

5

What is useful in the determination of sex

Skeletonisation - pelvis and skull most useful

6

How can the age be determined in fetuses and neonates

Bone development assessment using ossification centres
X-rays are useful

7

How can the age be determined in childhood and adolescence

Assessment of epiphyses

8

How can the age be determined in adults

Increasingly difficult to do with accuracy

9

What is the best way to determine age

Ageing by examining the teeth: most valuable indicator from infancy to adulthood

10

How can the stature be dertmined

Difficult to do with precision, even with an intact body
People may not have had their height measured accurately in life anyway
Individual bones of the lower limb are most useful for calculation of height

11

When is establishing ID easier

When a possible identity is available - various features may be available for comparison

12

What type of comparative methods can be used

Head hair (colour, length, style)
Eyes (colour)
Facial hair

13

What type of medical information can be used in identification

Medical history (e.g. gallstones)
Surgical procedures (e.g. surgical implants or prostheses, pacemakers (serial numbers), old fractures, removal of all or part of one or more organs)
Tattoos (e.g. design, site)

14

What other personal identification methods can be used

Fingerprints
Dental records
DNA profiling

15

How are fingerprints useful

Those with a criminal record or by comparison with prints on personal possessions

16

How are dental records useful

More prevalent than fingerprints, but dependent on the quality of dental records available; durable and fire resistant - dentures also useful

17

What is DNA profiling dependent on

Depends on availability of controls (e.g. toothbrush, razor, hairbrush, material removed at surgery, Guthrie card)

18

What principles apply in a mass fatality incident

Same principles

19

What is vary in a mass fatality incident

Organisational complexities which will vary with different incidents - aircraft crash vs multiple motor vehicle collision vs fire in a hotel vs fire on an oil-rig

20

What does identification also help with

Investigators reconstruct the incident

21

What are the key things that need to be identified when trying to identify a body

Are the remains human?
Sex
Age
Stature