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Forensic medicine

Forensic medicine deals with questions that arise in the practice of civil and criminal law and that can only be answered by medical knowledge.

Forensic medicine
In ancient Rome, the forum, the center of the Roman world, was the place where the court cases were heard, judged and sentenced - in short, "justice was done in the Forum". Thus the term "forensic medicine" (from the Latin "forensis" - "belonging to the forum") was coined as a synonym for forensic medicine.


Catchment areas

As an independent authority, forensic medicine is responsible for establishing the link between medical facts and legal issues, thus making a decisive contribution to the investigation of crimes.

The work of forensic experts, who are sworn and certified by the Public Prosection Service and the court, is of great importance.

There are four Institutes/Centers for Forensic Medicine (IFM/CFM) in Austria.

External Examination

An external examination serves to pronounce death, as well as the nature and cause of death. Moreover, the external examination needs to determine if the circumstances surrounding the nature or cause of death make it necessary to commission a post-mortem.

Establishing Death

Death is the irreversible termination of all living functions; the end of life. It is preceded by the process of dying, which is marked by the failure of vital bodily functions.

Post-Mortem Examination

A post-mortem examination or autopsy (Greek ‘autopsia', 'to see with one’s own eyes’) is carried out to determine the cause of death.


Medical University of Vienna

Center for Forensic Medicine

Sensengasse 2
1090 Vienna, Austria

T: +43 (0)1 40160-35602
F: +43 (0)1 40160-935603