What is a traumatic subarachnoid haemorrhage, how should it be investigated by the pathologist and what are the likely findings at autopsy?


  1. Describe where and how you would set up a temporary mortuary for a mass disaster incident. Briefly describe what requirements, if any, should be considered for modern terrorist threats.
  2. Discuss the causes of subdural haematoma in infants and children. What investigations should be undertaken at autopsy to assist in the differential diagnosis of causation?
  3. Discuss the possible roles of entomologists and botanists in the investigation of a death.
  4. Consider the methods available for estimating the time of death and comment on their relative merits.
  5. How should the pathologist investigate the death of a female victim of a suspected sexually motivated homicide?


Time allowed – THREE HOURS

  1. What is a traumatic subarachnoid haemorrhage, how should it be investigated by the pathologist and what are the likely findings at autopsy?
  2. Describe the safety features of modern motor cars and their efficacy.
  3. Discuss the alternatives to undertaking a traditional invasive autopsy for the purpose of establishing a cause of death.
  4. Discuss the death of an individual diagnosed with epilepsy.

What investigations should be performed?

  1. A 25 year old black male dies whilst being restrained by police officers. Discuss the possible causes of death and what procedures should be undertaken at autopsy examination to assist in the diagnosis.


  1. Discuss the autopsy investigation of lesions of the blood vessels of the head and neck.
  2. Discuss the problems of assessing the significance of autopsy findings in the elderly.
  3. Consider the contribution of audit in morbid anatomy.
  4. Describe how you would investigate a death from a clinically unidentified pathogen. What precautions would you adopt?
  5. Describe the investigation of a perioperative death.



  1. During an autopsy on a supposedly previously well six-month old child, a subdural haematoma comes to light unexpectedly in the absence of scalp bruising. Describe how you would bring the autopsy to completion and any ancillary investigations which you would consider necessary.
  2. Write an account of the investigation and interpretation of bruises and extracranial haematomata at autopsy.
  3. Write an essay about the pathology of diamorphine abuse, including the interpretation of toxicological data.
  4. An adult who has been arrested for drunken behaviour is found dead in a police cell. Describe your approach to the investigation of this death and its legal implications.

Please turn over for Question 5

  1. Discuss the role of the pathologist at a homicide scene. What precautions should he or she observe to prevent contamination of evidence and maximise evidence yield?


Part I Examination

September 2000


First Paper

Candidates must answer FOUR questions ONLY

Time allowed – THREE HOURS

  1. Describe the different histological types of primary lung (not pleural) neoplasm. Discuss how you would assess a primary lung neoplasm at a medico-legal autopsy.
  2. Discuss the aetiology of cerebral infarction. Describe how you would assess a case of cerebral infarction at autopsy.
  3. Discuss the subject of “informed consent” with respect to obtaining permission for an autopsy.
  4. Discuss the role of the endocrine system in causing and contributing to sudden death.
  5. Describe how you would assess a non-neoplastic haematological condition at autopsy.


  1. Discuss the value of post-mortem biochemistry (not toxicology).
  2. The police bring you a pile of assorted bones recovered from a nearby wooded area. What is your role as a forensic pathologist? What other techniques/specialists may be of use and how?
  3. An adult male is found dead at the side of a quiet country road. He has been hit by a car. Describe the injuries you would expect to find and discuss the role of the forensic pathologist in the investigation of his death.
  4. A three month old, previously healthy, male infant is found dead in his cot one morning by his mother. Why might the forensic pathologist benefit from a visit to the scene? Describe your approach to the autopsy with particular reference to any special techniques or additional tests that you might perform or ask for.
  5. An 18 year old man dies as a result of blunt force trauma to the head six days after being assaulted. Discuss the possible intracranial findings with specific reference to their potential legal importance.
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