Medical student’s perceptions of forensic pathology (2017)

Type of publication:
Conference abstract

*Iles K.L.

Journal of Pathology; Mar 2017; vol. 241, Supplement 1, Page S6

Forensic pathology is an important sub-specialty of pathology which requires a variety skills that are relevant and transferable to many other areas of medicine. Despite this, it does not feature in the undergraduate curriculum of most medical schools meaning that knowledge specific to forensic medicine such as wound terminology may not be taught. A lack of formal teaching and an ever increasing dramatised presence of the  specialty in the media may lead to a misrepresentation of the role of forensic pathologists. As a result this study  aimed to examine final year medical student’s perceptions of the role of the forensic pathologists and their confidence in knowledge of important aspects of forensic medicine. An online survey was developed to assess these areas which was distributed to final year medical students at a UK institution via email. From the  respondents, the overall perception of the job role was correct, however there appeared to be some misconceptions regarding the role of a forensic scientist, or crime scene investigator in comparison to a forensic  pathologist. The study also highlighted that students did not feel confident in differentiating between wound  types using the correct terminology. This is important as injuries are common presentations in many clinical areas, and incorrect terminology may have mediocolegal implications. This study has highlighted the need for clarification of the job role of the forensic pathologist. There is a greater need for forensic pathology in the undergraduate curriculum, which should focus on description and terminology of wounds and injuries.

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