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TECH: Medical Forensics (HS)

Time Frame

1 class periods of 45 minutes each


Mitzi Jeppesen

Background for Teachers

What are medical forensics, forensic science and forensic pathology?

  • Healthcare professionals who specialize in forensics serve as a bridge between medical science and the law. The term "forensics" means "pertaining to the law." And forensic experts and medical professionals are important parts of the justice system. Forensic pathologists, doctors, nurses, and technicians use medical principles and scientific procedures to analyze the physical evidence associated with criminal investigations.
  • The healthcare professional in forensics aims to discover the cause of a person's death, injury, or disease.
  • Forensic science uses a broad spectrum of sciences to answer the questions of interest to a legal system.
  • Forensic Medicine deals with the application of medical knowledge to legal questions.
  • Forensic pathology is concerned with determining the cause of death, examination of injuries die to crime and negligence, and the examination of tissue samples relevant to crimes.
  • Forensic pathologists' salaries $80,000 to $200,000+ per year depending on experience, job setting and responsibilities.
What are the steps to become a Forensic Pathologist in the USA?
  1. Pre-medical school: 3-4 years
  2. Medical School: 4 years
  3. Pathology Residency: 4 years (if anatomical path residency) or 5 years (if combined anatomical + clinical pathology)
  4. Fellowship: 1-2 years
What skills or abilities are necessary?
  • General background of medical and pathology skills
  • Good oral and written communication skills
  • Understanding of legal and social issues
  • Attention to detail--very good observational skills (which is what this lesson stresses)

Instructional Procedures

  1. Review over the background material for teachers. The main points are brought out in the PowerPoint presentation for the students.
  2. Give the students the discussion guide prior to showing the presentation, so that they can fill things in and do the activities as it progresses.
  3. Show the PowerPoint presentation. It includes several quiz type activities on observational skills.
  4. Discuss the importance of good observational skills.
  5. If you have access to the video clip of the gorilla basketball from YouTube, you may want to use it with this lesson. Do NOT tell the students about the gorilla. Simply have them count the number of times the basketball is passed. The video has its own narration and it is very self explanatory.
  6. If there is time, the students may also enjoy seeing a variety of optical illusions. These can be found easily with Google Images. They can tie right in with the way we see things and that we may not all see things the same way.


  • T. Trimpe 2006

  • Created: 05/16/2011
    Updated: 02/05/2018