::Departments : Para Clinical : Forensic Medicine
 
DEPARTMENT OF FORENSIC MEDICINE & TOXICOLOGY


HISTORY OF FORENSIC MEDICINE

Development of the mankind took millions and millions of years and along with it, medicine also developed to leap and bounds. With development of medicine, legal aspects of it also came into picture, which lead to the development of the subject Forensic Medicine or Medical Jurisprudence. Our religious and mythological literature contains the detailed description of issues related to law and medicine and there solutions. In Muslim period in India the criminal laws were well developed and became a landmark. At that period ‘Quasi-I-Mumalik” was in charge of civil and criminal litigations. His function was to find out facts and apply the law. There were so many defects in the Muslim criminal law which were detected by Britisher’s and were even abolished.

The first recorded medico-legal autopsy was performed in Madras Presedicency by Dr Edward Bulkley on the afternoon of 28 August 1693. When Mr Wheeler, member of council, Sea Customer and Chief Justice of Choultry in Chennai, died on 28 August 1693. In 1714, Dr. Bulkley died and was buried in the garden of his house that was later converted into a quarters for defence personnel. The tomb stands isolated inside Ordnance Line, opposite MMC. In 1822, the first medical school was established in Kolkata and converted into a Medical College in 1835. In the same year, Madras Medical College was also established in Madras. The first chair of professor of medical jurisprudence (Dr. Urquhart) was established at Madras Medical College in 1857.

 The most outstanding contribution of India to legal medicine during burnish period is modern Dactylography. It was Sir William Herschel of the Indian Civil Services, who first used this method of identification in 1858. Based on Herschel’s theory. Sir Francis Galton of England devised the systemic study and methods of using fingerprints for personal identification in 1892.  The British government altered this law from time to time till 1862 when the Indian penal Code came into existence. Infact the foundation of our criminal laws are from Mohammedan law but it was altered and revised in the light of English Law under the chairmanship of Lord Macaulay, and was passed on 6th October 1860. The revised Bill was in ‘Pigeon Hold’ for 12 years, of the 511 sections of the enacted penal code only 488 were recommended by the Macaulay commission.

About the Department of Forensic Medicine:
The department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology was founded in the Post Independence era with teaching, training and research as its main objectives. The routine involves medico-legal postmortems, casualty work, Clinical Forensic medicine Services & Court related works. Department is imparting expert opinions to cases by the Courts, National Human Rights Commission, CBI, Crime Branch, Tamil Nadu state Police and Investigating agencies from other states.
Autopsy for The Notorious Alavandar murder case: The murder trial which was conducted in the Madras Presidency State in the early 1950s. The cause of the trial was the murder of a businessman and ex-serviceman named Alavandar whose headless body was found in one of the coaches of the Indo-Ceylon Express. C. Alavandar, a pen salesman from Chennai was reported missing on August 28, 1952 by his employer Cunnan Chetty (the owner of Gem and Co). The next day a headless body was discovered in a third class compartment of the Chennai-Dhanushkodi (Indo-Ceylon boatmail) express. It was found after passengers complained about a foul smelling trunk when the train was nearing Manamadurai. Police investigating the complaint, opened the trunk and found the headless body. An autopsy done at Manamadurai concluded that the body belonged to a 25-year-old male. Since it was circumcised, the investigating police decided that the murder victim was a Muslim. After a few days, police discovered a severed head in Royapuram beach, Chennai. It had been buried in the beach sand, but was exposed due to tidal action. The head and body were sent to Madras Medical College for forensic examination. Dr. C. P. Gopalakrishnan who performed the examination concluded that both belonged to the same 42-year-old male. Alavandar's wife later identified them as that of her husband's. Alavandar had served in the British Indian army and his fingerprints were on file there. They were used to conclusively prove that the murdered man was Alavandar. After the trial which became a cause-celebre. Alavandar's ex-lover and her husband were found guilty of the murder and sentenced to brief terms of imprisonment.

List of successive Heads of Department in Institute of Forensic Medicine, Madras Medical College:
 
Professors From-To
Dr.C.B.Gopalakrishnan,MBBS,MSc, 1965-1972
Dr.M.N.Ganapathy,MD, 1973-1977
Dr.C.J.Chandrasekar, MBBS,MSc, 1978-1985
Directors  
Dr.Neela Govindaraj, MBBS,MSc, 1987-1990
Dr.Amrit Patnaik, MD, 1991-1996
Dr.S.Angayarkanni,MD, 1996-2001
Dr.Cecilia Cyril,MD, 2001-2001
Dr.Thahera Begum,MD, 2001-2004
Dr.R.Vallinayagam, MD, 2005-2010
Dr.B.S.Santhakumar, MD, 2010-2013
Dr.M.N.Rajamani Bheem Rao, MD, (I/C) 2013-2013
Dr.R.Vallinayagam,MD, 2013-2015
Dr.M.N.Rajamani Bheem Rao, MD, (I/C) 2015-2015
Dr.V.Murugesan,MD, 2015-2017
Dr.M.N.Rajamani Bheem Rao, MD, (I/C) 2017- Till date
 


CORE COMPETENCIES:
·         Opinion by Postmortem examination.
·         Expert opinion for cases of ambiguity.
·         Clinical Forensic Medicine.
·         Deposing evidenced in courts.
·         Imparting knowledge of Forensic Medicine to Undergraduate students and Postgraduates scholars.
·         Scientific Research.
EDUCATION:
The department is actively engaged in teaching activities. The department is also imparting short-term/Long-term training in Toxicology & DNA .The departmental faculty also imparts education by giving guest lectures to allied personnels like, Judges, Police Officials, Forensic Scientists through Police Training Academy, Judicial Academy and other agencies like NICFS, NIHFW, CDTS, CBI, NIA.
Hospital Services/ PATIENT CARE 
Casualty Services
Round the clock supervision of Casualty for imparting Expert Opinion ( Medicolegal services) in requisite cases belonging to jurisdiction of South Chennai. These include cases of assault, sexual offences, poisoning and other complicated medico-legal cases. The department conducts medical examination of cases that are in Police & Judicial custody.
Medico-legal services:
Madras Medical College being a Premier Institute caters to the Jurisdiction of all Police stations. It conducts Autopsy in cases of exhumations, cases of Inquest by Judicial/ Executive Magistrates Courts and by Police Department. There is a state of art mortuary at main hospital.
The Department provides Medico-legal Postmortem services on all days from 10 AM to 4 PM as per Tamil Nadu G.O.
 
Year  
2016
 
2015
 
2014
   
No. of  
 
2770
 
 
2618
 
Post-  
Mortems 2428
Conducted  
per year  
 
 
Clinical Forensic Medicine
The Department conducts medical examination for cases of age estimation, sexual offences, marriage disputes, potency, DNA fingerprinting etc referred by Honorable Court and request of Police through the Courts, CBI and other investigating agencies.
 
Sexual Offences cases:
 
Year  
2016
 
2015
2014
   
Number of  
 
77
 
 
    190
 
Sexual  
141
Offence  
cases per  
Year  
 
 
 
Age Estimation cases:
 
Year  
2016
 
2015
 
2014
   
No. of Age  
 
14
 
 
19
 
Estimation  
30
cases per  
year  
 
Medical Toxicology Laboratory
Tests for various poisons e.g. Heavy metals, opiates, benzodiazepines and alcohol are done in toxicology laboratory.  It provides clinical laboratory services to the hospital patients. The main role is however contributing towards research purposes.
Other Medico Legal works:
Examination of the Documents from the Investigating Officers of Prohibition and Enforcement Wing and Narcotics Wing and issue of relevant ‘Toxicity Certificates’.
Preparing, dispatching and maintaining the Medico Legal and Administrative Records and the Documents of the department.
Appearing in the Courts of Law, on receipt of the Summons from the Courts of Law for Deposing Evidence in the Autopsy Cases, Sexual Offence Cases, Age examination Cases, Toxicity Cases, Specimen Examination Certificates and Expert Opinions.
Guest lectures: Professors from Madras Medical College are deputed to take class in Tamilnadu Police Academy by the Director of Medical Education.
Medico legal Training Conducted for Judicial Officers- Sessions Judges and Magistrates, Police Officers such as Deputy Superintendent of Police, Inspectors, SubInspectors, Constables, Criminology Students From Madras University, Medical Record Technicians.
 
 
Academic Status:-
A-Under Graduate Teaching:-
  • For the students of 2nd M.B.B.S.. Theory-lecture classes with AV aids  and practical- demonstrations/ hands on training classes are conducted by all teaching faculty of the department.
  • Seminars and group discussions involving participation of students are conducted every month.
  • Periodic Internal Assessment tests both in theory & practicals and viva voce are conducted. A minimum of 5 - 6 internal assessment tests are conducted through out the year
  • A model theory & practical examination is conducted prior to the university examination in the month of July
  • The academic progress and attendance detail of each student is communicated to the parents and University.
 B-Post Graduate Teaching:-
Annual intake- 3 post graduates
Day Activity
Monday Seminar
Tuesday Case Discussion
Wednesday  
Thursday Journal club
Friday  
Saturday Performance Review meeting and regular audit foe overall performance of students apart from lecture classes and hands on Autopsy procedure training.
 
List of Post Graduate Students
S.NO NAME OF POSTGRADUATE STUDENT YEAR
1. Dr. A.Sathish Final Year
2. Dr. R. Julius Final Year
3. Dr. T.Ezhil Kothai Final Year
4. Dr. G.Amritha Sulthana Second Year
5. Dr. S. Yuhesh Second Year
6. Dr. A. Nirmala Second Year
7. Dr. A.H.Sugan Chander First Year
8. Dr. Dhivya Prakash First Year
9. Dr. S.Ramachandiran First year
 
Ongoing research projects:
S.NO: NAME OF ONGOING RESEARCH PROJECT
1. Estimation of postmortem interval by evaluation of cells in cerebrospinal fluid- Dr.A.Sathish; Guide- Dr.M.N.Rajamani Bheem Rao
2. Comparative analysis of cardiac isoenzyme PKMB in pericardial fluid and serum in sudden death cases for the postmortem diagnosis of myocardial infarction- Dr.R.Julius; Guide- Dr.M.N.Rajamani Bheem Rao
3. Autopsy based study of incidence of vertebral artery injury in fatal non penetrative cervical spine trauma- DR.T.Ezhil Kothai; Guide- Dr.M.N.Rajamani Bheem Rao
4. Study of pattern of injuries in fatal cases of fall from height- Dr.S.Yuhesh; Guide- Dr.M.N.Rajamani Bheem Rao
5. Study of incidence of adrenal hemorrhage in all deaths subjected to medicolegal autopsy- Dr. G.Amritha Sulthana; Guide- Dr.M.N.Rajamani Bheem Rao
6. The study of  pattern of intracranial hemorrhages in fatal head injury cases of road traffic accident- Dr.A.Nirmala; Guide- Dr.M.N.Rajamani Bheem Rao
7. Determination of sex from hyoid bone- Dr. A.H.Sugan chander; Guide- Dr.M.N.Rajamani Bheem Rao
8. Study on estimation of stature of adult from clavicle- Dr.Dhivya Prakash; Guide- Dr.M.N.Rajamani Bheem Rao
9. Estimation of stature from Hand and Finger dimensions- Dr.S.Ramachandiran;
Guide- Dr.M.N.Rajamani Bheem Rao
 
CME Programs/ WORK SHOP:
Work shop on DNA Finger printing using FTA Card
 
Publications:
S.NO: JOURNAL
1. Indian Journal of Forensic and Community Medicine, July- September 2015 Descriptive Study of Copper Sulphate Poisoning- A Study of Twenty Autopsy Case- Dr.T.Vedanayagam.
2. Indian Journal of Forensic and Community Medicine, July- September 2015
Sex Determination from Foramen Magnum Measurements- A Regional Study in Chennai, Tamil Nadu- Dr.T.Vedhanayagam
3. Journal of Forensic Medicine & Toxicology Vol. 32 No. 1, January - June 2015
PATTERN OF HEAD INJURIES IN FATAL ROAD TRAFFIC
ACCIDENTS - AN AUTOPSY BASED STUDY-Dr. M. Guhan.
4. Diffuse axonal injury by hypoxia- A case report-Dr.A.Sathish
5. Cardiac tamponade- A case report-Dr.RJulius    
6. High tension death- A case report- Dr.T.Ezhil kothai
 
Prizes :
1.    First prize in paper presentation at APICON,2016- An interesting case of Diffuse Axonal Injury by Dr.T.Ezhil Kothai
2.    First prize in paper presentation at SIMLA,2016- High tension death by Dr.T.Ezhil Kothai.

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