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  University of Minnesota Forensics

Laceration Lacération

Laudanum Laudanum (alcoholic tincture of opium / teinture alcoolique d'opium)

Loose contact wound Plaie à bout portant

Maimed person Mutilé(e)

Maimings Mutilations

Maternal death Décès maternel

MAU Métallogramme Atomique Urinaire (confirmation et quantification d'empoisonnement par les métaux lourds)

Medical certificate of death Certificat de décès

Medico-legal autopsy Autopsie médico-légale

Medico-legal procedures Procédures médico-légales

Medico-legal report Expertise médico-légale

Morbid anatomical examination Examen anatomopathologique

Morbid anatomical lesions Lésions anatomopathologiques

Morbid anatomy and histopathology Anatomie pathologique

Morbid anatomy laboratory Laboratoire anatomopathologique

Mortal Mortel(-elle)

Mortiferous Mortifère

Mortuary Morgue

Motion sickness Mal des transports

MTBI Mild Traumatic Brain Injury -See PubMed MTBI

Muzzle imprint, muzzle stamp Empreinte laissée par l'extrémité d`une arme à feu

Natural death Mort naturelle

Necrophagous Nécrophage

Necrophanerosis Modifications cadavériques

Necrophilism Nécrophilisme

Necrophily Nécrophilie

Necrophilous Nécrophile

Necrophorous Nécrophore

Necropsy Nécropsie (post-mortem examination Syn. Autopsy)

Necroscopy Nécropsie

Necrosis Nécrose

Necrotic .adj. Nécrosé(e)

Necrotic degeneration Mortification

Necrotomy Nécrotomie

Neuronal death Mort neuronale

NIFS National Institute of Forensic Science (AU)

Odontologist Odontologue

Odontology Odontologie

Suc épaissi des capsules de diverses espèces du genre pavot et surtout du pavot somnifère (papaver somniferum, L.), qui nous vient de la Turquie et de la Perse en morceaux arrondis ou aplatis. L'opium est une substance narcotique, très vénéneuse à haute dose, calmante et soporifique à dose médicale.
L'opium est employé aussi comme un excitant du système nerveux, qui procure un sentiment momentané de bien-être. Les fumeurs d'opium.

Opium and Morphine
— The inspissated juice of the unripe capsules of the Papaver somniferum. As a poison it is generally taken in the form of the tincture (laudanum), which contains 1 grain opium in 15 minims. Opium is found in almost all so-called 'soothing syrups' for children, and in Godfrey's cordial, Dalby's carminative, and Collis Browne's chlorodyne. Laudanum contains 1 per cent. morphine, and it, along with all other preparations (e.g., paregoric) which contain 1 or more per cent. morphine, are included in Part I. of the Schedule of Poisons, and come under the Dangerous Drugs Regulations.

The most important active principles of opium are the alkaloids morphine and codeine.

Symptoms usually commence in from twenty to thirty minutes : Giddiness, drowsiness and stupor, followed by insensibility. Patient seems asleep ; may be roused by loud noise, but quickly relapses. Breathing slow and stertorous, pulse weak, countenance livid. As coma increases, pulse becomes slower and fuller. The pupils are contracted, even to a pin's point ; they are insensible to the action of light. In deep, natural sleep the eyes are turned upwards and the pupils contracted. Bowels confined, skin cold and livid or bathed in sweat. Temperature subnormal. Nausea and vomiting are sometimes present. Remissions are not infrequent, the patient appearing about to recover and then relapsing. Hæmorrhage into the pons may give rise to contracted pupils. Young children and infants are specially susceptible to the poison.

Diagnosis is not always easy, and one has to differentiate poisoning from cerebral apoplexy. In the latter one can seldom rouse the patient, the pupils are often unequal, and hemiplegia is present. In compression of the brain, fracture of the skull may be present, subconjunctival hæmorrhages may be seen, the pupils are unequal and dilated, and the paralysis increases. In uræmic or diabetic coma the urine must be examined.

The habitual use of opium is not uncommon, and opium-eaters are able to take enormous quantities of the drug. The opium-eater may be known by his attenuated body, withered yellow countenance, stooping posture, and glassy, sunken eyes.

Post-Mortem Appearances. — Not characteristic. Turgescence of cerebral vessels. There may be effusion under arachnoid, into ventricles, at base of the brain, and around the cord. Rarely extravasation of blood. Stomach and intestines usually healthy. Lungs gorged, skin livid.

Fatal Period. — Usually nine to twelve hours ; but in many cases, if life is prolonged for eight hours, recovery takes place.

Fatal Dose. — Four grains of opium is the smallest fatal dose in an adult, or one drachm of laudanum ; children are proportionately much more susceptible to the action of opium than adults.

Treatment. — Stomach-tube, emetics, strong coffee or tea, ammonia to nostrils. Give 10 grains of permanganate of potassium in a pint of water acidulated with sulphuric acid, and repeat the dose every half hour. Belladonna by mouth, or atropine hypodermically. Patient must be kept roused by dashing cold water over him, flagellating with a wet towel, walking about, etc. In conditions of collapse, however, this treatment must not be continued, but everything should be done to preserve the strength. Treatment must be continued as long as life remains.

Method of Extraction from the Stomach. — Opium itself cannot be directly detected, but we test for morphine and meconic acid. These may be separated from organic mixtures thus : Boil the organic matter with distilled water, spirit, and acetic acid ; filter, and to the fluid passed through add acetate of lead till precipitate ceases. Filter. Acetate of morphine passes through, and meconate of lead remains. The solution of acetate of morphine may be freed from excess of lead by hydrogen sulphide and filtered, excess of hydrogen sulphide driven off by heat, and tests applied. Put the meconate of lead with water into a beaker and pass hydrogen sulphide ; sulphide of lead is formed, and meconic acid set free. Filter. Concentrate the solution of meconic acid, allow a portion to crystallize, and apply tests.

Tests. — Morphine and its acetate give an orange-red colour with nitric acid, becoming brighter on standing ; decompose iodic acid, setting free iodine ; with perchloride of iron, gives a rich indigo-blue ; with bichromate of potassium, a green turning to brown. When the alkaloid is heated in a watchglass with a drop of strong sulphuric acid until the acid begins to fume, and is then allowed to get quite cold, a drop of nitric acid produces a brilliant red colour. The iodic acid test is very delicate, but requires great care, and may be used in the presence of organic matter.

Meconic acid gives a blood-red colour with perchloride of iron, not discharged by corrosive sublimate or chloride of gold. The similar colour produced by sulpho-cyanide of potassium and perchloride of iron is discharged by chloride of gold and corrosive sublimate.

Morphine Habit. — Individuals who have acquired this habit take the drug usually by hypodermic injection. The victim suffers from nausea and vomiting, and becomes so mentally debilitated that asylum treatment is required.

W.G. Aitchison Robertson, Aids to Forensic Medicine and Toxicology (1922).

Organ Organe

Organ removal for scientific purposes Prélèvement d'organe à but médico-scientifique

Ornithine decarboxylase Ornithine décarboxylase

Oxidative decarboxylation Décarboxylation oxydative (oxydoréduction d'un corps avec libération d'une molécule de gaz carbonique, CO2)

Pancreas Pancréas (organe offrant la caractéristique de se putréfier rapidement)

Pathologist Pathologiste

Pathology Pathologie

Perinatal death Décès périnatal (mort de l'enfant entre la 28ème semaine de gestation et la 7ème journée après la naissance)

Petechiae Pétéchie - See PubMed Petechiae

Pharinx Pharinx

Post head-injury disability Séquelles d'un traumatisme crânien

Posthumous child Enfant posthume (child born after the death of his father)

Post-mortal emasculation Émasculation post-mortem

Post-mortem birth Accouchement post mortem

Post-mortem heat hematoma Hématome par brûlure post-mortem

Post-mortem lividity Lat. Livor mortis Lividité cadavérique, sugillation cadavérique, Lat. Sugillatio, tache cadavérique

Post-mortem study Autopsie médico-scientifique

Post-mortem inspection Inspection post mortem

Postmortem stain Tache post-mortem

Pregnancy resulting from rape Grossesse résultant d'un viol

Prenatal death Décès prénatal (mort utérine du foetus entre la 28ème semaine de gestation et la naissance)

Prepubertal victim Victime prépubère

Protein putrefaction Putréfaction protidique

Ptomaines Ptomaïnes, bases cadavériques, alcaloïdes animaux. Bases azotées toxiques proches des alcaloïdes (cadavérine, putrescine) se formant lors de la décomposition par décarboxylation des matières azotées. - DRB -


« Every medical man, before presenting himself to give evidence in a case of suspected poisoning, should make himself thoroughly acquainted with recent researches on the subject. Ptomaines are, for the most part, alkaloids generated during the process of putrefaction, and they closely resemble many of the vegetable alkaloids — veratrine, morphine, and codeine, for example — not only in chemical characters, but in physiological properties. They are probably allied to neurine, an alkaloid obtained from the brain and also from the bile. Some of them are analogous in action to muscarine, the active principle of the fly fungus. Some are proteids, albumins, and globulins. Ptomaines may be produced abundantly in animal substances which, after exposure under insanitary conditions, have been excluded from the air. Ptomaines or toxalbumins are sometimes found in potted meats and sausages, and are due to organisms — the Bacillus botulinus, the B. enteritidis of Gärtner, the B. proteus vulgaris, or the B. ærtrycke (which is perhaps the most common of all). The symptoms produced by the latter are usually vomiting, abdominal pain, pains in the limbs and cramps, diarrhœa, vertigo, coldness, faintness, and collapse. The symptoms of botulism are dryness of skin and mucous membranes, dilatation of pupils, paralysis of muscles, diplopia, etc. Articles of food most often associated with poisoning are pork, ham, bacon, veal, baked meat-pie, milk, cheese, mussels, tinned meats.

In a case of suspected poisoning, counsel for the defence, if he knows his work, will probably cross-examine the medical expert on this subject, and endeavour to elicit an admission that the reactions which have been attributed to a poison may possibly be accounted for on the theory of the formation of a ptomaine. There is practically no counter-move to this form of attack. », W.G. Aitchison Robertson Aids to Forensic Medicine and Toxicology (1922).

PTSD Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (same as SSPT) - See PubMed PTSD

Putrefaction Putréfaction
« Putrefaction appears in from one to three days after death, as a greenish-blue discoloration of the abdomen ; in the drowned, over the head and face. This increases, becomes darker and more general, a strong putrefactive odour is developed, the thorax and abdomen become distended with gas, and the epidermis peels off. The muscles then become pulpy, and assume a dark greenish colour, the whole body at length becoming changed into a soft, semi-fluid mass. The organ first showing the putrefactive change is the trachea ; that which resists putrefaction longest is the uterus. These putrefactive changes are modified by the fat or lean condition of the body, the temperature (putrefaction taking place more rapidly in summer than in winter), access of air, the period, place, mode of interment, age, etc. Bodies which remain in water putrefy more slowly than those in air. », W.G. Aitchison Robertson Aids to Forensic Medicine and Toxicology (1922).

Putrescine Putrescine ( 1,4-diaminobutane, C4H12N2 or H2N.(CH2)4.NH2 ) Basic crystals amine formed by decarboxylation of ornithine during the putrefaction, melting point 23 °C . - DRB -

Rape Viol
« Rape is the carnal knowledge of a woman by force and against her will. The resistance of the woman must be to the utmost of her power, but if she yield through fear or duress it is still rape. The woman is a competent witness, but her statements may be impugned on the ground of her previous bad character, and evidence may be called to substantiate the charge. The perpetrator must be above the age of fourteen years.

The definition of rape which we have given is not altogether satisfactory. Take, for example, the case of a woman who goes to bed expecting her husband to return at a certain hour. The lodger, let us say, takes advantage of this fact, and, getting into bed, has connection with her, she not resisting, assuming all the while that it is her husband. This is rape, but it is not 'by force,' and it is not 'against her will,' but it is 'without her consent,' as she has not been fully informed as to all the circumstances of the case.

In all cases of rape in which there is no actual resistance or objection, consent may be assumed. It is not essential that the woman should state in so many words that she does not object. The force used may be moral and not physical — e.g., threats, fear, horror, syncope.

By 48 and 49 Vict., c. 49, the carnal knowledge of a girl under thirteen is technically rape. The consent of the girl makes no difference, since she is not of an age to become a consenting party.

An attempt at carnal knowledge of a girl under thirteen is a misdemeanour. Her consent makes no difference, and even the solicitation of the act on the part of the child will not exonerate the accused.

Intercourse with a girl between thirteen and sixteen, even with her consent, is a misdemeanour.

This Act is a favourite with the blackmailer. The child is sent out to solicit, dressed like a woman, but appears in the witness-box in a much more juvenile costume.

To constitute rape there must be penetration, but this may be of the slightest. There may be a sufficient degree of penetration to constitute rape without rupturing the hymen. Proof of actual emission is now unnecessary.

The subject of carnal knowledge (C.K.) or its attempt may be summed up as follows :

Under thirteen C.K. Felony.
Under thirteen Attempt Misdemeanour.
Consent no defence.
From thirteen to sixteen C.K. Misdemeanour.
From thirteen to sixteen Attempt Misdemeanour.
Consent and even solicitation no defence.
Reasonable cause to believe the girl over sixteen is a good defence.
Charge must be brought within three months.
Over sixteen C.K. with consent Nil.
Subject to civil action for loss of girl's services by father.
Idiot or imbecile C.K. with violence Rape.
Idiot or imbecile C.K. without violence Misdemeanour.
Personation of husband . Rape.
Tacit consent no defence, for obtained by fraud.
Married woman C.K. with consent Adultery.
Mother, sister, daughter, grand-daughter C.K. consent immaterial ; born in wedlock or not Incest.
Females Indecent assaults Misdemeanour.


It is a misdemeanour to give to a woman any drug so as to stupefy her, and so enable any person to have unlawful connection with her.

False charges of rape are very often made. The motive may be to extort blackmail, revenge, or mere delusion. On examining such cases bruises are seldom found, but scratches which the woman has made on the front of her body may be discovered, and the local injuries to the generative organs are slight, if present at all.

Physical Signs. — In the adult the hymen may be ruptured, the fourchette lacerated, and blood found on the parts, together with scratches and other marks and signs of a struggle. In the child there may be no hæmorrhage, but there will be indications of bruising on the external organs, with probably considerable laceration of the hymen, the laceration in some cases extending into the rectum. Severe hæmorrhage, and even death, may follow the rape of a young child. The patient will have difficulty in walking, and in passing water and fæces. After some hours the parts are very tender and swollen, and a sticky greenish-yellow discharge is present. These signs last longer in children than in adults ; but as a rule — in the adult, at least — all signs of rape disappear in three or four days. Young and delicate children may suffer from a vaginal discharge, with swelling of the external genitals, simulating an attempt at rape. Infantile leucorrhœa is common, and many innocent people have been exposed to danger from false charges of rape on children, instituted as a means of levying blackmail. A knowledge of these facts suggests the necessity of giving a guarded opinion when children are brought for examination in suspected cases. Pregnancy may follow rape.

Seminal stains render the clothing stiff and greyish-yellow in colour, with translucent edges. On being moistened they give the characteristic seminal odour.

Semen may be found on the linen of the woman and man, and will be recognized under the microscope by the presence in it of spermatozoa, minute filamentary bodies with a pear-shaped head ; but it must not be forgotten that the non-detection of spermatozoa is no proof of absence of sexual intercourse, for these bodies are not always present in the semen of even healthy adult young men. Spermatozoa must not be mistaken for the Trichomonas vaginæ found in the vaginæ of some women. The latter have cilia surrounding the head, which is globular.

Florence's Micro-Chemical Test for Spermatic Fluid. — If a drop of the fluid obtained by wetting a supposed spermatic stain be mixed with a drop of the following solution (KI, parts 1.65 ; pure iodine, 2.54 ; distilled water, 30) in a watch-glass, brownish-red pointed crystals resembling hæmin crystals are obtained.

Barberio's Test. — Mix a drop of the spermatic stain with a drop of a saturated solution of picric acid, when needle-shaped yellow rhombic crystals are formed.

Gonorrhœal Stains. — A cover-glass preparation stained with methylene blue reveals the gonococci lying in pairs within the leucocytes. », W.G. Aitchison Robertson Aids to Forensic Medicine and Toxicology (1922).

Rape of children Viol d'enfants - See PubMed Rape of children

Recrement Récrément

Repeating rifle Fusil à répétition

Respiratory arrest, respiratory failure Arrêt respiratoire

Resuscitation Réanimation

Ritual removal of the clitoris Excision rituelle du clitoris

Routine orders Bulletin médico-administratif

Saponification Lat. Saponis / Soap / Savon Saponification
« In bodies which are very fat and have lain in water or moist soil for from one to three years this process takes place, the fat uniting with the ammonia given off by the decomposition to form adipocere. This consists of a margarate or stearate of ammonium with lime, oxide of iron, potash, certain fatty acids, and a yellowish odorous matter. It has a fatty, unctuous feel, is either pure white or pale yellow, with an odour of decayed cheese. Small portions of the body may show signs of this change in six weeks. », W.G. Aitchison Robertson Aids to Forensic Medicine and Toxicology (1922).

Saponin Saponine
Steroid glycosides from vegetable kingdom solubles in aqueous or alcoolic middle, toxic saponins are protoplasmic poisons which haemolitic activity dissolves eythrocytes. - DRB -

Sapotoxin Sapotoxine (any poisonous saponins)

Sapraemia Saprémie (presence of products, such as ptomaines, of putrefactive bacteria in the blood)

Saprobic Saprobe (Fauna and flora leaving on decaying organic matters or in soul waters)

Saprobiotic .Gre. Sapros / Putrid / Putride Saprobiotique

Saprogenic, saprogenous Saprogène (producing or feeding from products causing putrefaction)

Saprophagous Saprophage (Fauna feeding on decaying matters)

Saprophyte Saprophyte (Flora living on decaying matters)

Saprophytically .adv. Saprophytiquement

Saprophytism Saprophytisme

Saprogenic, saprogenous Saprogène

SCD Sudden Cardiac Death

Scopolamine Scopolamine See Serum of truth

Scrape Éraflure

Sea squill Lat. Scilla maritima, Urginea scilla, Urginea maritima Liliaceae Charpentaire, grande scille, oignon marin, scille maritime, squille See Cardiac glycosides

Self-murder Suicide

Self-mutilation Auto-mutilation - See PubMed Self-mutilation

Serum of truth Sérum de vérité

Sexual assault Agression sexuelle

Shaken baby (or infant) syndrome Syndrome de l'enfant secoué

Shearing fracture Fracture par torsion

Shock death Mort par choc

Side arm wound Blessure par armes blanches

Signs produced by close-range shots Signes de coups de feu à bout portants

Silo worker's asphyxia Mort due à l'asphyxie par ensevelissement dans un silo

Simulated drowning Noyade simulée, fausse noyade

Single cause of death Cause simple de décès

Skull fracture Fracture du crâne

Skull Punch Poinçon crânien

Small arms Armes portatives

SMLC Société de Médecine Légale et de Criminologie de France

Social death État végétatif

Sodium hypochlorite Hypochlorite de sodium, eau de Javel
Chemical compound with the formula NaOCl. Its inhalation causes a decrease in the respiratory frequency or a temporary paralysis of respiratory muscles and a sensation of suffocation (simulated drowning) ; its ingestion cause severe irritation and burnings ; both inhalation and ingestion can cause death.

SOFT Society of Forensic Toxicologists

Spalding sign Signe de spalding (Overlapping of fetal skull bones indicating foetal death / Chevauchement des os de la calotte cranienne du foetus indiquant la mort de celui-ci)

Specificity of genes Empreintes génétiques (identification technique)

Sperm Sperme

Spiral fracture Fracture par torsion

SRMLB Société Royale de Médecine Légale de Belgique / Royal belgian society of legal medicine

SSPT Syndrome de Stress Post-Traumatique (-Idem PTSD)

Stillborn Mort-né(e)

Strangulation Étranglement (compression ou constriction de la trachée)

Strangulation mark(s) Marque(s) de strangulation

Strangulation psychosis Psychose post-strangulatoire

Stray shot Balle perdue

Sudden death Mort subite

Suicide Suicide

Suicide attempt Tentative de suicide

Sunstroke Insolation

« The person loses consciousness and falls down insensible ; the body temperature may be 112° F., the pulse is full, and a peculiar pungent odour is given off from the skin. Coma, convulsions with (rarely) delirium, may precede death. Treatment consists in lowering the body temperature by application of cold cloths, stimulants, strychnine or digitalin hypodermically. », W.G. Aitchison Robertson Aids to Forensic Medicine and Toxicology (1922).

Syncope Syncope
Diminution subite et momentanée de l'action du coeur, avec interruption de la respiration, des sensations et des mouvements volontaires.

« Syncope is death beginning at the heart — in other words, failure of circulation. It may arise from — (1) Anæmia, or deficiency of blood due to hæmorrhage, such as occurs in injuries, or from bleeding from the lungs, stomach, uterus, or other internal organs. (2) Asthenia, or failure of the heart's action, met with in starvation, in exhausting diseases, such as phthisis, cancer, pernicious anæmia, and Bright's disease, and in some cases of poisoning — for example, aconite.

The symptoms of syncope are faintness, giddiness, pallor, slow, weak, and irregular pulse, sighing respiration, insensibility, dilated pupils, and convulsions.

Post mortem the heart is found empty and contracted. When, however, there is sudden stoppage of the heart, the right and left cavities contain blood in the normal quantities, and blood is found in the venæ cavæ and in the arterial trunks. There is no engorgement of either lungs or brain. », W.G. Aitchison Robertson Aids to Forensic Medicine and Toxicology (1922).

TASA Technical Advisory Service for Attorneys (CA)

Tearing away Arrachement

Termination of pregnancy for rape or incest Interruption volontaire de grossesse éthique

Testicle injury Traumatisme du testicule

Thanatologist Thanatologue

Thanatology Thanatologie

TIAFT The International Association of Forensic Toxicologists

TJ Turgescence Jugulaire

Torsion of the testicle Torsion du testicule

Tortured to death Torturé(e) à mort

Total circulatory arrest Arrêt total de la circulation

Tourniquet paralysis Paralysie par garrot

Trachea Trachée

Traumatic gangrene Gangrène nosocomiale

Traumatology Traumatology

Truth serum Sérum de vérité

TS Tentative de Suicide

UAM Urinary Atomic Metallogram (same as MAU) - See HAM

Unnatural death Mort non naturelle

Violent death Mort violente

VIFM Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine (AU)

Wound Plaie, blessure

« A wound may be defined as a 'breach of continuity in the structures of the body, whether external or internal, suddenly occasioned by mechanical violence.' The law does not define 'a wound,' but the true skin must be broken. Wounds are dangerous from shock, hæmorrhage, from the supervention of crysipelas or pyæmia, and from malum regimen on the part of the patient or surgeon. Is the wound dangerous to life? This question can only be answered by a full consideration of all the circumstances of the case ; a guarded prognosis is wise in all cases. », W.G. Aitchison Robertson Aids to Forensic Medicine and Toxicology (1922).

Wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm Coups et blessures avec préméditation

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