Forensic medicine

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Computer tomograph in forensic medicine at the Charité Berlin.
Section hall of the State Institute for Forensic and Social Medicine Berlin.
Section room of the Charité Berlin.

The Forensic Medicine (from the Latin medicina forensis ), and Forensic Medicine and Forensic Medicine ( Austria ) until 1969 Forensic Medicine called, includes the development, application and evaluation of medical and scientific knowledge for the administration of justice as well as arranging medical legal and ethical knowledge of the medical profession. Forensic medicine emerged as an independent subject in the second half of the 19th century from the “state medicine customer” after the subject of hygiene (public health care, “ medical police ”) had been separated from it.

Areas of responsibility and boundaries

The tasks and areas of research of legal medicine are Thanatologie (z. B. necropsy for unusual deaths), forensic traumatology , toxicology , drug / alcohol research and diagnostics ( Alcoology ), forensic molecular biology (about DNA studies), forensic Sexual Medicine , traffic medicine and - Psychology , credibility assessments from a medical and forensic point of view, medical appraisals , medical error reports, parentage reports, age diagnostics, insurance medicine (such as injury reports), photography and new media ( stripe light topometry), information technology and management.

There are also interdisciplinary courses in forensic medicine other than human medicine, for example for dentists or lawyers .

The equation of forensic doctors with pathologists by novelists and screenwriters is usually based on a widespread misconception: pathology is a medical specialty that must be distinguished from forensic medicine. Court-ordered cadavers are not opened by pathologists. Pathologists also perform autopsies , but only with the consent of the relatives to clarify illnesses leading to death, but not if a non-natural death, i.e. a murder, suicide or accidental death, is suspected. Forensic doctors, on the other hand, act on behalf of the public prosecutor or a court and autopsies do not require the consent of the relatives here. The forensic examination (this includes the external examination and the subsequent opening of the body, also known as the internal examination) is used for clarification

According to the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure ( Germany ), such an ordered examination is always carried out in pairs, by at least one forensic doctor and, if necessary, another doctor, but not by a doctor belonging to a department for pathology in public hospitals. The common mistake is explained by a mistranslation: in American usage, the forensic pathologist corresponds to the forensic pathologist . In Austria and Switzerland , the post-mortem examination can also be carried out by a single forensic doctor.

If the forensic doctor is acting on behalf of an investigative or judicial authority , he is usually assigned the function of an expert . In Switzerland, the relevant mandate can also be given by a military justice body (Art. 85 ff. MStP ).

With the help of forensic DNA analysis , the identity of unknown deceased can be determined. It is also possible to assign patient samples if they are mixed up.


In Germany there are 31 university institutes for forensic medicine , in Austria four ( forensic medicine ) and in Switzerland six.

There are also municipal institutes for forensic medicine in Germany , for example in Bremen , Dortmund and Duisburg , as well as the Brandenburg State Institute for Forensic Medicine in Potsdam and the State Institute for Forensic and Social Medicine Berlin .


In China, a five-volume textbook on forensic medicine can be traced back to the 13th century . In Europe, even if there were already approaches to forensic medicine in the Middle Ages, it has only been possible to speak of the development of "forensic medicine" since the beginning of modern times. In 1532, the “Embarrassing Neck Court Order” ( Constitutio Criminalis Carolina ) of Charles V issued in Regensburg gives indications of the involvement of doctors in the decision-making of medical questions in the case law. From then on, doctors and midwives served more often as trial experts in court, for example in the case of unnatural deaths, infanticide and poisoning. The Zurich city council was in the 16th century death or injury on a regular basis by the head of the Society of Bader and surgeons who "sworn five Master," visit.

The first significant forensic medicine in Europe is De relationibus medicorum , written in 1601 by Fortunatus Fidelis from Palermo. The first systematic elaborations on forensic medicine are the Quaestiones medico-legalales ("medical-legal questions") by the Roman doctor and papal personal physician Paolo Zacchia (1584-1659) , which appeared for the first time in seven volumes from 1621 to 1635 .

Probably the first textbook of forensic medicine in German comes from the Nuremberg city ​​physician Johann Nicolaus Pfitzer (1634–1674) and was first published in 1668.

The name “Medicina forensis” ( forensic medicine ) was coined by Johannes Bohn in Leipzig in the 18th century . In Freiburg im Breisgau , with “ Medicina legalis ” (also called “ Medicina forensis ” elsewhere ), the first forensic medicine content was conveyed in lectures at the medical faculties since the middle of the 18th century. The Institutiones medicinae legalis et forensis by Hermann Friedrich Teichmeyer, published in 1723, were used as a textbook .

At the University of Würzburg , where corpses were opened as early as 1564 on behalf of the Prince Bishop to determine the cause of death, Hofrat Johann Kaspar Gutberlet, as associate professor of pathology and prince-bishop's personal physician, introduced special lectures in forensic medicine in June 1779 and was thus the first official lecturer for forensic medicine. In 1791 Gutberlet, as a full professor of forensic medicine, also announced lectures on “forensic medicine science” in German. The Forensic Medicine , however, was at that time no examination subject and the foundation was an Institute of Forensic Medicine in Würzburg until 1926th

The first German forensic medicine lecture (“Forensic Medicine according to Gottlieb Ludwig ”) was given by Professor of Forensic Medicine Franz Anton Stebler in 1784 in Ingolstadt.

In 1804 the first chair for “State Medicines” or “Forensic Medicine and Medical Police” and thus the first chair for the subject in the German-speaking area was established at the Medical Faculty in Vienna . In 1806 the work of the physician Friedrich August Röber appeared in Dresden , From the concern of the state for the health of its citizens , one of the works that established the state medicine . Around 1814, Johann Joseph Bernt also received the subject of “Forensic Medicine” after taking over the chair in Vienna. Thus the world's first practical institute for forensic medicine was established in Vienna.

On February 11, 1833, the practical training institute for state medicine was founded in Berlin (in the 19th century, forensic medicine was mostly understood as a branch of the "state medicine", to which the entire public health care belonged). In the 19th century Auguste Ambroise Tardieu , Johann Ludwig Casper and Carl Liman laid the foundations for modern forensic medicine as an empirically based science.

Despite the efforts of the German Science Council after the Second World War to integrate "forensic medicine" into other medical such as internal medicine or surgery, it was able to maintain it as a separate discipline under the name of "forensic medicine" within the ecological specialist group with the help of the West German Medical Faculty Conference become.

Forensic medicine in films and series

After the American series Quincy , forensic medicine as a form of investigation in crime films has been a frequent topic in film and television since around 1995 . Other well-known examples are:

  • The Last Witness : TV series, Germany 1997-2007, ZDF, director: Bernhard Stephan, screenplay: Gregor Edelmann (other title occasionally: forensic doctor Dr. Kolmaar). A total of 73 episodes of 45 minutes each.
  • CSI: On the trail of the perpetrators : crime series, first broadcast: USA 2000 on CBS, 2001 in Germany on VOX
  • Navy CIS : crime series, first broadcast: USA 2003 on CBS, 2005 in Germany on Sat1 and Kabel eins
  • Body of Proof : crime series, first broadcast: USA in March 2011 on ABC , in Germany in August 2011 on ProSieben (since March 2012 on kabel eins )
  • Crime scene : crime series, first broadcast: 1970 in Germany on ARD and WDR
  • Dexter : crime, drama series, first run: USA, 2006 on Showtime
  • Forever : crime series, first broadcast: USA 2014 on ABC, 2015 in Germany on Sat.1 emotions
  • Bones: The crime series, first broadcast in the USA in 2005 on FOX , in 2006 in Germany on RTL
  • Commissioner Rex : crime series, first broadcast in 1994 on ORF1
  • The specialists - In the name of the victims , crime series, ZDF, first broadcast from 2016


  • Constanze Niess , Stephanie Fey : The faces of the dead, my most exciting cases from forensic medicine . Lübbe Verlag, Cologne 2014, ISBN 978-3-7857-2492-7 .
  • Elisabeth Türk, Ulf G. Stuberger: The coroner, how science convicts criminals . Rowohlt Verlag, Reinbek 2012, ISBN 978-3-499-63008-8 .
  • Bernd Brinkmann : Manual of Forensic Medicine 1 and 2 . Ed .: Burkhard Madea. Springer-Verlag, Berlin / Heidelberg / New York 2004, ISBN 3-540-00259-6 .
  • Wolfgang Spann : Cold surgery. A life between medicine and law. ecomed, Landsberg 1995, ISBN 3-609-62713-1 .
  • Wolfgang Dürwald : Forensic medicine . JA Barth, Leipzig 1990, ISBN 3-335-00062-5 .
  • Esther Fischer-Homberger : Medicine in court. Forensic medicine from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment. Hans Huber, Bern 1983. (Abridged licensed edition under the title Medicine in front of the court. On the social history of forensic medicine. With case studies compiled by Cécile Ernst. At Luchterhand Literaturverlag, Darmstadt 1988).
  • Maren Lorenz : Criminal Bodies - Troubled Minds. The standardization of the individual in forensic medicine and psychiatry of the Enlightenment . Hamburg 1999.
  • Burkhard Madea (Ed.): 100 years of the German Society for Forensic Medicine / Forensic Medicine. From the founding resolution in 1904 to forensic medicine of the 21st century . German Society for Forensic Medicine / Forensic Medicine, 2004, OCLC 634868655 .
  • Burkhard Madea (Ed.): Practice forensic medicine . Springer, Berlin / Heidelberg / New York 2003, ISBN 3-540-43885-8 .
  • H. Patscheider, H. Hartmann: Guide to forensic medicine . Verlag Hans Huber, Bern / Stuttgart / Toronto 1993, ISBN 3-456-82383-5 .
  • Hubert Patscheider: On the history of forensic medicine in St. Gallen. In: Writings of the Association for the History of Lake Constance and its Surroundings. Volume 107, 1989, pp. 1–68 (digitized version )
  • Ramin Ilbeygui, Christian Reiter: Synopsis and Atlas of Forensic Medicine . WUV / Universitätsverlag, Vienna 2002, ISBN 3-85076-526-1 .
  • Manfred Hochmeister, Martin Grassberger, Thomas Stimpfl: Forensic medicine for study and practice . 2nd Edition. Maudrich Verlag, Vienna 2007, ISBN 978-3-85175-848-1 .
  • Markus A. Rothschild : The Most Incredible Cases of Forensic Medicine, Electronic Resource . Directmedia Publishing , Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-89853-303-4 .
  • Martin Grassberger, Harald Schmid: death investigation - recording of findings and securing of evidence . 2nd Edition. Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft Stuttgart, Stuttgart 2014, ISBN 978-3-8047-3201-8 .
  • Deborah Blum: The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York . Penguin Press, New York 2011, ISBN 978-0-14-311882-4 .
  • The century of the detectives. Paths and adventures of criminology . Droemer, Zurich 1964.
    • Paperback in three volumes: The Mark of Cain, Report of the Dead, Handbook for Poisoners ; last 11th edition 1994/95
  • Jürgen Thorwald : The hour of the detectives. Becomes and worlds of criminology . Droemer Knaur, Zurich and Munich 1966.
    • Paperback edition in two volumes: Bloody Secret, Traces in the Dust. Droemer Knaur, Munich, most recently in 1986
    • Both volumes together under the title: The merciless hunt. Criminology novel . German Book Association, Stuttgart 1970.

See also

Web links

 Wikinews: Forensic Medicine  - In The News
Wikibooks: Forensic Medicine  - Learning and Teaching Materials

Individual evidence

  1. Meyer-Goßner StPO § 87 Rn 11.
  2. ^ Ingo Wirth, Andreas Schmeling : Forensic Medicine: Basic Knowledge for Investigative Practice . Hüthig Jehle Rehm, 2012, ISBN 978-3-7832-0021-8 , pp. 292 ( ).
  3. ^ German Society for Forensic Medicine - List of Forensic Medicine Institutes in Germany (as of March 23, 2009).
  4. Austrian Society for Forensic Medicine - university institutes (as of June 3, 2010).
  5. ^ Hans-Jürgen Warlo: Medieval forensic medicine in Freiburg i.Br. and on the Upper Rhine. Freiburg 1972 (= preparatory work for the non-fiction book of Alemannic and Southwest German history. Volume 2).
  6. a b c d e f g Wolfgang Schwerd: On the history of forensic medicine. In: Wolfgang Schwerd (Hrsg.): Brief textbook of forensic medicine for doctors and lawyers. Deutscher Ärzte-Verlag, Cologne-Lövenich, 3rd, revised and expanded edition 1979, ISBN 3-7691-0050-6 , p. 351 f.
  7. ^ De relationibus medicorum libri quatuor. In quibus ea omnia, quae in forensibus, ac publicis causis medici referre solent, plenissime traduntur.
  8. Johann Nicolaus Pfizer: Vernurious Wounds Judgment, How one should give a thorough report of all wounds of the human body, whether dangerous, fatal, or not, in court and elsewhere: All, if so, courts and legal experts for the message [ .] Divided into two books. Anietzo launched for the second time, increased, and with an appendix of a brief instruction for the accepted field clerks; together with a field box. YES u. W. Endter Erben, Nuremberg 1668; 2nd edition, with a preface by Johann Georg Volckamer, ibid 1674.
  9. Axel W. Bauer : Forensic Medicine. In: Werner E. Gerabek u. a. (Ed.): Encyclopedia of medical history. De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2005, ISBN 3-11-015714-4 , p. 1219 f., Here: p. 1219.
  10. ^ Wolfgang Schwerd: Forensic medicine (forensic medicine). In: Peter Baumgart : The Julius University of Würzburg as a type of university foundation in the confessional age. In: Peter Baumgart (Ed.): Four hundred years of the University of Würzburg. A commemorative publication. Degener & Co. (Gerhard Gessner), Neustadt an der Aisch 1982 (= sources and contributions to the history of the University of Würzburg. Volume 6), ISBN 3-7686-9062-8 , pp. 1005-1009; here: p. 1005 f.
  11. Henning Bärmig: The personal bibliographies of the professors who taught at the Medical Faculty of the Alma Mater Julia zu Würzburg from 1582 to 1803 with biographical information. Medical dissertation, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg 1969, p. 58 f.
  12. Martin Sperling: Specialization in medicine as reflected in the history of Würzburg. In: Würzburg medical history reports. Volume 3, 1985, pp. 153-184, here: p. 166.
  13. ^ Richard Kraemer: Würzburg physicians 50 years ago. In: Würzburg medical history reports. Volume 5, 1987, pp. 165-172, here: p. 167 (on Herwart Fischer ).
  14. Wolfgang Schwerd: Thoughts on the occasion of the anniversary celebration for the 60th anniversary of the Würzburg Institute for Forensic Medicine. In: Würzburg medical history reports. Volume 6, 1988, pp. 149-165, here: p. 149.
  15. K. Handel: Central German forensic doctors of the late 17th and 18th centuries - Biographical Notes. In: Jürgen Barz, Johann Bösche, Harald Frohberg, Hans Joachim, Rosemarie Käppner, Rainer Mattern (eds.): Advances in forensic medicine. Festschrift for Georg Schmidt. Springer-Verlag, Berlin / Heidelberg / New York 1983, ISBN 3-540-12152-8 , pp. 2–20, here: p. 13.
  16. Erna Lesky : The Vienna Medical School in the 19th Century. Böhlau, Graz / Cologne 1965, p. 112.
  17. Berlin Calendar 1998 , Verlag Haude and Spener / Edition Luisenstadt, 1998, ISBN 3-7759-0417-4 , p. 38.
  18. ^ Wolfgang Schwerd: Forensic medicine in a study reform. In: Deutsches Ärzteblatt. 1967, p. 416.
  19. Wolfgang Schwerd: Reason for changing the technical term 'forensic medicine' to 'forensic medicine'. In: German journal for all forensic medicine. Volume 65, 1969, p. 61.
  20. ^ Hans J. Wulff: Forensic Medicine / Forensic Medicine / Forensic Medicine in Film and Television: A Dossier . Univ. Hamburg - Department 07 SLM, March 7, 2003, ISSN  1613-7477 ( online [accessed March 23, 2009]). Online ( Memento of the original from June 2, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /