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When people die suddenly, friends and family naturally want to know why the death occurred. Police Officers may want answers to that question as well, especially if it means criminals will be captured and stopped before they strike again. In these situations, a Forensic Histopathologist can use the body as a roadmap, examining organs, cells, and tissues to determine exactly what happened.
When you’re a Forensic Histopathologist, you begin your work by talking to Police Officers and Investigators about the death, and reading reports that describe the crime scene. With this information, you determine what sorts of tissues to remove for examination. If the Investigator suspects drug use, for example, you might take liver samples. If they suspect that kidney disease might have played a role, you take urine samples.
After the autopsy is complete and you have all the samples you need, you perform detailed examinations of those samples. In your laboratory, you stain cells, look for chemicals, and perform a variety of other detailed tests. The results of each test are detailed carefully.
Piecing together the last moments of life takes time, and you work closely with Forensic Scientists, Dentists, Investigators, and even Entomologists to develop a clear picture. The work you do as a Forensic Histopathologist must support the work of the other experts, and if it does not, you run your tests again to look for errors.
At the end of your work, you write a report outlining why and how the death occurred. This report can be included as evidence during a criminal trial, and you may be called in as a witness during the trial to provide more information.