IU School of Medicine

Elective Title: 93CA810 — FORENSIC PATHOLOGY


This course is intended for any student who is interested in the interface of law and medicine as well as a review of three-dimensional anatomy. The medical legal autopsy is the focus from which evaluation of mechanisms of death and injury are obtained. Opinions drawn from medical observations will be reviewed in light of their legal significance in medical practice as well as the court room. Opportunities to observe autopsies will be mixed with an introduction to civil and criminal consultation and testimony. There is also a requirement for a formal presentation to be done on the last week of the monthly rotation. Medical students should have a working knowledge of anatomy and physiology of the human body and basic disease mechanisms.

Elective Details:

Primary Contact for Add/Drops: Jarrett, Beverly F. (bjarrett@iupui.edu)

Director: Christopher Poulos, M.D.

Campus: Indianapolis

Location: Marion County Coroner's Office (Indianapolis)

Learning Objectives

  • 1) Describe basic forensic pathology terms for estimation of postmortem interval: (MK3)
  • a) Livor Mortis (MK3)
  • b) Algor Mortis (MK3)
  • c) Rigor Mortis (MK3)
  • 2) Describe the topography of the human body: (MK1)
  • a) Anatomical position, flank, ventral, posterior, etc. (MK1)
  • 3) Explain basic principles of confidentiality, neutrality, and mechanisms of documentation (P3)
  • 4) Apply cultural competency applied to beliefs about the death and dying process (ISC3)
  • 5) Observe the complete postmortem examination and courtroom testimony (P3)
  • 6) Discuss the privilege of the autopsy process (PC5)
  • 7) State the difference between Coroner and Medical Examiner (PBLI1)


  • Professional Development Evaluation Form; (Participation, medical knowledge, and an oral powerpoint presentation)

Enrollment Information

Prerequisites: 3rd or 4th year status; must have completed at least one-half of the required 3rd year clinical clerkships

Availability with Max Students per Month:


Duty Hours: 25

Time Distribution: 60% Laboratory; 20% Lecture/Seminar, 20% problem Solving

Elective Type Category: PD - Professional Development

Notes and Enrollment Information:

Add/Drop Contact Person: Jarrett, Beverly F. (bjarrett@iupui.edu) The Forensics address is 521 West McCarty Street. The main phone number is 327-4744. Students should arrive at 7:30 am and will be responsible for providing their own scrubs. Students should try to schedule elective time at least 8 weeks prior to the start date due to limited space. We will only take the maximum number of three medical students due to limitations of office space and observation room within the Marion County Morgue.

Third Year Elective? Yes

Interprofessional Skills and Service Learning

Interprofessional Collaborative Skills: Yes

Skills Description: We do provide for inter-professional collaboration with forensic odontologists, forensic anthropologists and child death specialists, attorneys, and law enforcement officials.

Service Learning Included: None