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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Maura F. O'Neil, MD (University of Kansas Medical Center)
Description: This book highlights recent advances in the areas of postmortem and crime investigation work, including topics that have been inadequately covered in general autopsy texts, as well as areas of autopsy practice that are often difficult to interpret. Most chapters summarize information with tables and use sufficient illustrations.
Purpose: The purpose is to dispel the misconception that autopsy practice has remained unchanged over the years. It is meant to educate those involved with postmortem work about recent advances in the field as well as those areas which are still poorly understood. This book is necessary for those who want to broaden their knowledge in autopsy practice and supplement their general autopsy texts with one that includes some sociology related to death and one that covers difficult topics in-depth.
Audience: The book is written for all those involved with postmortem, crime investigation, and bereavement work including students, general and consultant pathologists, nurses, paramedics, lawyers, and police. It will be useful to anyone interested in keeping up-to-date with issues related to autopsy practice. The editor and the contributing authors are experts in forensic pathology or their particular area of study.
Features: The book covers a diverse group of topics ranging from radiological investigations in autopsy to body art and modification. It provides in-depth coverage of incised wounds, maternal deaths, and the investigation of inherited metabolic diseases. Topics which traditionally have been underrepresented, such as various religious attitudes about death, are also covered. The book covers areas which continue to be challenging in postmortem work, such as disputed deaths and the pathology of shock versus postmortem changes, particularly well. Although most illustrations are useful and interesting, the print quality of most of the histological pictures is poor.
Assessment: This is a valuable supplement to general autopsy textbooks for anyone involved in postmortem work. It is not meant to be a textbook, as it requires previous knowledge of basic autopsy techniques and accordingly it will be used mostly by specialists in this arena or by residents in forensic pathology.