Autopsy: external examination

[Dr. Fowler]: The types of information that one tries to get from an external examination fall into multiple different areas. The first one is—is the identity of the deceased correct? So the pathologist will go through a fair amount of time looking at eye color, height, weight, looking for scars which may be useful for identification at a later stage. We will also be looking for the external evidence of any disease. Many disease will show up on the surface of the body in the way of abnormal coloring of the skin, they may show up in lumps, bumps etc. in parts of the body that you would not normally expect to find them, so that would allow the pathologist to have a fair idea up front of what's going on inside. Then of course when we are looking at the traumatic cases where the person has either been injured from a firearm, a knife, a motor vehicle, etc. the types of injuries that are found on the outside of the body are very specific to that type of instrument.