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BATTERED BABY SYNDROME

  1. Spare the rod!

    -Title of a paper by James E. George of the Emergency Department, Underwood Memorial Hospital, Woodbury, N.J. (U.S.A.) on Battered Baby Syndrome published in Forensic Science, 2 (1973) 129-167

  2. Hark ye, good parents, to my words true and plain,
    When you are shaking your baby, you could be bruising his brain.
    So, save the limbs, the brain, even the life of your tot;
    By shaking him never; never and not.

    -a quatrain from the paper “On the Theory and Practice of Shaking Infants” published in Amer. J. Dis. Chil,. on page 169. Full reference of the article is this: Caffey, John. On the Theory and Practice of Shaking infants. Amer. J. Dis. Child. August 1972, Vol. 124, no. 2, Pp 161-169

  3. Whiplash-shaking is practiced commonly in a wide variety of ways, under a wide variety of circumstances, by a wide variety of persons, for a wide variety of reasons.

    -John Caffey of “Caffey’s syndrome” fame in his paper: On the Theory and Practice of Shaking infants. Amer. J. Dis. Child. August 1972, Vol. 124, no. 2, Pp 161-169, on page 161

BLOOD STAINS

  1. Out damned spot! Out, I say
    Here's the smell of the blood still,
    All the perfumes of Arabia will not
    Sweeten this little hand. Oh, Oh, Oh!

    -William Shakespeare

  2. Blood though it sleeps a time, yet never dies,
    The Gods on murtherers fix revengeful eyes.

    -Dryden (The Cock and the Fox)

  3. Any butcher is just as good an expert on that as this witness.

    -Commonwealth v. Sturtivant (1875) (Quoted in “Scientific and Legal Applications of Bloodstain Pattern Interpretation” Ed. Stuart H. James, page 122)

    (N.B. A little background above the above quote may be appreciated. In this case, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court addressed the admissibility of blood spatter interpretation and the qualifications of an “expert”. The witness, a chemist accustomed to chemical and microscopic examination of blood and bloodstains, testified for the prosecution as to directionality; i.e., “if the force of a stream of liquid, whatever it may be, and especially blood, be from below upward, the heaviest portion of the drop will stop at the further end of the stain; if from above downward, it will stop below.”. Defence counsel objected to this testimony at trial, stating, “That is pure opinion as to a matter of mechanics, not chemistry. Any butcher is just as good an expert on that as this witness.”)

  4. When blood is their argument.

    -King Henry V, iv, i (Cited in "Recent Advances in Forensic Pathology" edited by Francis E. Camps, J.& A. Churchill Ltd., 1969, on page 161, in Chapter 9 entitled “Immunoserology”)

(N.B. See also under “Disputed paternity”)

BRUISES

  1. It is impossible to comment on the age of a bruise less than 24 hours since infliction.

    -Bernard Knight (Forensic Pathology, 2nd Edition, page 143)

  2. It is not practicable to construct an accurate calendar of the color changes of bruises, as was done in older textbooks.

    -Bernard Knight (Forensic Pathology, 2nd Edition, page 143)

  3. If anyone thinks that he can accurately tell you the age of a bruise based on its appearance, he needs to have some serious re-education.

    -Jo Duflou, in an E-mail to a Forensic Discussion Group on Fri, 27 Oct 2000 NSW Institute of Forensic Medicine

BURNS AND SCALDS

  1. Traditionally most authors claim that differentiation can be made between an ante-mortem and a post-mortem blister by an analysis for protein and chloride in the fluid; but I have yet to meet a pathologist who does this as a routine! One suspects that the test is another of the apocryphal procedures that have been handed down from textbook to textbook without verification.

    -Bernard Knight (Forensic Pathology, 2nd Edition, page 310-1)

  2. The exposed skin surface may be reddened in both ante-mortem and post-mortem burns; the classical distinction of a "red flare" or "vital reaction" is unsafe as an index of infliction before death.

    -Bernard Knight (Forensic Pathology, 2nd Edition, page 310)

  3. Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burnt?

    -Proverbs 6:27 (Quoted in "The Pathology of Trauma" 2nd Edition, Edited by J.K.Mason, page 178)