Clinical forensic medicine is the branch of medicine that deals specifically with cases involving both legal and medical aspects of patient care. A forensic evaluation refers to the detection, collection, and preservation of evidence. Pattern injury recognition, interpretation of injuries, documentation of testimonial and injuries (including photography), reporting requirements, and regulations are all vital components of a forensic evaluation, but are rarely the topic of discussion in training hospitals. Medical professionals working in prehospital care and acute care settings are likely to encounter perplexing forensic issues related to child abuse, sexual assault, or unexpected childhood death in their practice. This article focuses on the most recent insights related to sexual assault and forensic evidence as it relates to successful prosecution, shaken baby syndrome, and pediatric nonaccidental thermal injury. Also reviewed are the most current publications related to clinical forensic medicine for the year 2002, incorporating practical clinical tips from the most informative articles from the past decade. © 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
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