Forensic Medicine in Türkiye

 Forensic Medicine  Comments Off on Forensic Medicine in Türkiye
Dec 042014
 

prof.dr.oguz.polatProf. Dr. Oğuz POLAT

Today Forensic Medicine in Türkiye is a branch of medicine. At  the university  there are  departments of  forensic medicine  in medical  faculties. Also  School of Law has forensic  medicine course in their curricula. Psychology departments are also  taking  lectures on forensic medicine. All medical faculties have departments of forensic medicine.

Forensic Sciences are also improving day by day. Laboratories and multidisciplinary studies  with genetics, biochemistry and  toxicology  are giving services for forensic  problems. DNA laboratories  and toxicological laboratories  with ballistics and  voice & camera identification laboratories   are giving  forensic sciences services as well  addressed in  universities, police  and  military’s  criminal laboratories.

At present, there are three organizations in Turkey which are involved  in the forensic medicine & science  field.

(1) The Universities of Medical   Sciences the number of which reached  to 55, (2) The Council of Forensic Medicine, and its branch offices in cities and (3) The criminal laboratories  of police and military services

Recently, forensic medicine is being practiced widely by the   medical doctors, and all the criminal cases are being investigated   in terms of forensic sciences. Medical faculties have forensic medicine   departments. Also, all cities have their own forensic medicine   experts.

Clinical forensic medicine is also performed for all violence  cases of child abuse and domestic violence. Especially multidisciplinary  teams are working with the coordination of forensic experts  at the university hospitals.

Today there are approximately 500 forensic medicine experts. Forty of them are academically involved, and books, and journals  are published.

History of Forensic Medicine in Türkiye

 Forensic Medicine  Comments Off on History of Forensic Medicine in Türkiye
Dec 312012
 

prof.dr.oguz.polatProf. Dr. Oğuz POLAT

Türkiye has a short history of forensic medicine compared to the developed countries. Sultan Mahmud II  established the first medical school of the Ottoman Empire named as Mekteb-i Tıbbiye-i Şahane to provide health services to the army in 1839.

It is also accepted as an important milestone of both medical education and forensic medicine in Türkiye. The first lecturer of  forensic medicine at Mekteb-i Tıbbiye-i Şahane was Dr. Charles Ambroise Bernard (C.A.) and he was also  the first to perform autopsy in  the history of Ottoman Empire. Approximately 40 years after  the first forensic medicine lecture in 1879, the Department of Medical Jurisprudence was established as a  division of Zabıta (Law Enforcement Office) Tababet-i Adliye in Istanbul .

History of human beings is full of examples  that law and justice have consulted to medicine, especially in some  criminal offences to decide accurately. Forensic medicine, being a part of the modern medicine, has been the most addressed department  both in the past and in the present. The history of forensic  medicine in Ottomans began relatively late with the foundation of  the Mekteb-i Tıbbiye-i Şahane, which was the first modern medical  school of Ottomans, by Padishah Mahmud II. This school has been accepted  as an important milestone for the development of forensic  medicine both in Ottomans and in the Republic of Türkiye.

Dr. Charles Ambroise Bernard (C. A.) was the first lecturer of forensic medicine in  this school, and he was also the first director of Mekteb-i Tıbbiye-i  Şahane. The first efforts to organize a forensic medicine unit in  this medical faculty have also built up the roots of the forensic medicine  in the Republic of Türkiye today.

During the Ottoman period, attempts for getting consent for autopsy and exhumation in suspicious deaths were rejected by the  Sheikh ul Islam, the religious cheif of the Ottoman Dynasty.

Therefore, during that period of time doctors had very limited  opportunity for performing autopsies with the permission from  of the padishah.

The first ‘‘modern” forensic autopsy, which was also a part of an  investigation about on the death of a building constructor whose  head was crushed after a big stick fell on him was performed in 1841 by Dr. Bernard at the Austrian Hospital. performed the autopsy of an Austrian man.

Forensic medicine lectures were started by Dr. Bernard, who was assisted by Dr. Serviçen Efendi, in 1841. After the death of Dr. Bernard in 1844, Dr. Serviçen Efendi carried out the forensic medicine lectures until 1846. His successor was Dr. Agop Handanian who had passed the examination and had acquired the position of an Associate Professor at Mekteb-i Tıbbiye-i Şahane in 1866. Then Dr. Agop Handanian gave the first forensic medicine lecture in a nonmilitary medical school named as Mekteb-i Tıbbiye-i Mülkiye in 1867. This medical school was the first to conduct the lectures in Turkish language instead of in French in Ottomans.

Dr. Agop Handanian was the first to translate forensic medicine books from French to Turkish language in Ottoman age. These books were written originally by Brande and Chande in 1877 and 1885 and were named as ‘‘Book of Medical Jurisprudence” (Kitab- ı Tıbb-i Kanuni) and ‘‘Book of Legal Chemistry” (Kitab-ı Kimyay-ı Kanuni), respectively.

In Turkish jurisprudence history, the term ‘‘medical expert” was initially defined by Ceza Kanunname-i Humayun (Criminal Law) in 1858. According to this law, when asked, the medical experts had to declare their thoughts about the crimes. Additionally under this law not only doctors but also nurses and health-officers had to share their experiences when asked by public prosecutor to give their opinions about the crimes.

In 1879, Kanun-u Muhakemat-ı Cezaiye (Judgment in Criminal Law) was changed, and in this law it was explained that in some  crimes, which involved killing a man or assaulting or battering,  the prosecutor had to take the opinion of a doctor. This doctor,  called as an ‘‘expert”, could be a surgeon or a practitioner.

In 1879, (Zabıta Tababet-i Adliye) the Department of Medical Jurisprudence was established as a part of the Law Enforcement Office  in Istanbul. (Forensic jurisprudence spread from Istanbul to other cities where public, private and also military doctors and  health-officers and midwives tried to serve forensic medicine services  But only doctors were responsible for performing the autopsies. Doctors performed autopsy only at the Autopsy Room at Askeri Tıbbiye-i Tesrihhane (Military School of Medicine).

In 1909, military medical schools were clubbed with other medical schools and their names were changed to ‘‘Haydarpaşa Medical Faculty”  where Dr. Bahaettin Sakir was appointed as a professor  and he wrote the first Turkish copyright forensic book in our country  in 1910. However, this book was published in the form of fascicles.

In 1908, the first Morgue office and Chemistry office were  established in the organization of Umur-u Tıbbiye-i Mülkiye and  Sıhhiye-i Umuriye (Ministry of Health). So that the core of  forensic medicine organization was built up early. Again autopsies  were performed in the Autopsy Room at the Military School of  Medicine.

In 1917 the Department of forensic medicine became the Department of Ministry of justice. Turkish Republic In 1920, during the warfare, the Turkish Parliament TBMM decided upon the forensic medicine doctors’ duties and rights. During  the warfare of liberation, forensic medicine provided services at the government house in Ankara. The autopsies were performed at Ankara Gureba Hospital. Also other activities, such as reporting  the degree of mental illnesses and legal capacity of people were  examined again in the same hospital ın 1926, the demand for forensic medicine services increased. For this reason, the term ‘‘forensic medicine” was changed to ‘‘forensic  medicine presidency”. At the same time, Morgue, Observation and  Chemistry offices were opened. New forensic medicine offices were  also established in the five different cities of Türkiye.

Until 1926, Forensic medicine services were the place for Forensic Medicine. forensic medicine services was shifted to Veliaht Yaveran Dairesi in Dolmabahçe Palace. But one year later, it was  again shifted from this palace to the Barracks of Military Middle  School (Rüştiye-i Askeriye) at Soğuksuceşme due to the law of protection  of national palace. Until 1982, Soğuksuçeşme Rüştiye-i Askeriye  was used efficiently, but later, this building lacked sufficient qualifications for forensic medicine services so it was  shifted to the campus of Cerrahpaşa Faculty of Medicine.

Under the new law, in 1953 it was noticed that psychiatry institutes  and department of forensic medicine of universities could  provide expert service. Under the same law, eight departments were established. These were Morgue, physic, chemistry, observation, biology, psychiatry, traffic, and graphology. Also the term  forensic medicine was changed to ‘‘Council of Forensic Medicine”.

Today Forensic Medicine is a branch and department of medical faculties and also faculties’ law has lectures on forensic medicine. All medical faculties have departments of forensic medicine. Prof. Polat opened the first DNA identification laboratory and modernized morgue for the first time at the Council of Forensic Medicine.

At present, there are three organizations in Türkiye which are involved in the forensic medicine field (1) the Universities of Medical  Sciences the number of which reached 42, (2) the Council of Forensic Medicine, and its branch offices in cities and (3) the Institute of Forensic Medicine. The Council of Forensic Medicine is an official  body of the Judiciary, which is situated in Istanbul.

Recently, forensic medicine is being practiced widely by the  medical doctors, and all the criminal cases are being investigated  in terms of forensic sciences. Medical faculties have forensic medicine  departments. Also, all cities have their own forensic medicine  experts.

Clinical forensic medicine is also performed for all violence cases of child abuse and domestic violence. Especially multidisciplinary teams are working with the coordination of forensic experts at the university hospitals.

Today there are approximately 500 forensic medicine experts. Forty of them are academically involved, and books, and journals are published.