Firearm Injuries

The examination of fatal firearm injuries should be left to an experienced forensic pathologist; however, it is not unusual in cases of nonfatal injuries for a hospital clinician or forensic physician to be asked to comment on the nature of the wound or wounds (8). As with all injuries within the forensic setting it is essential in these nonfatal cases that the initial appearances of the injuries be accurately described and the wounds photographed. This is particularly important because subsequent surgical treatment may distort or completely obliterate the wound characteristics. Furthermore, any fragments, bullets, or pellets found within the wounds must be carefully removed and handed over to the appropriate authorities.

There are two main types of firearm: smooth bore and rifled. Injuries occurring from both are discussed in the following subheadings.

CLOSING

PRIMER (

PROPELL POWDER

OVER-POWDE WAD

FILLEF

WADS

BATTE CUP

PRIMER (

PROPELL POWDER

OVER-POWDE WAD

FILLEF

WADS

BATTE CUP

Firearm Injuries Forensic Medicine

Fig. 9. Components of a shotgun cartridge (A) and a rifled bullet (B).

PRIMING

Fig. 9. Components of a shotgun cartridge (A) and a rifled bullet (B).

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