Archive for April, 2007

Computer Forensic Science and Evidence

April 27, 2007

The world is becoming a much smaller place in which to live and work. A changing revolution in communications and information exchange has taken place in jobs, homes, and public places. Our world today is much more invested in information processing and management. Most of our daily lives depend on the use of some type of personal computer. We bank and transfer money electronically, and we are much more likely to receive an E-mail than a letter. We shop more on the Internet than in a regular store. We buy groceries on the Internet, clothes, animal products, jewelry, and medicine. If you can name it, you can probably find it on the Internet somewhere. It is estimated that the worldwide Internet population is over 349 million per CommerceNet Research Council 2000. As the workforce has slowly converted from manufacturing goods to processing information electronically, criminal activity has also changed from a physical dimension. Evidence and investigations are found in a wireless dimension, in which evidence exists only electronically, and investigations are conducted online. Computer forensic science was created to address the specific needs of law enforcement and specially trained forensic experts to make the most of this new form of electronic evidence. Computer forensic science is the science of acquiring, preserving, retrieving, and presenting data that has been processed electronically and stored on a computer media. Computer forensic science is, at its core, different from most usual traditional forensic disciplines. The computer material that is examined and the techniques available to the examiner are products of a market-driven private sector that are useful. In contrast to traditional forensic analysis, there now is a way to perform computer examinations at virtually any physical location, not only in a controlled laboratory setting. Rather than producing hypothetical conclusions, as in many forensic disciplines, computer forensic science produces direct information and data that may have significance impact in a particular case. This type of direct data collection has wide-ranging implications for both the relationship between the investigator, the forensic specialist, the lawyers, the judge, the accused and the work product of the forensic computer examination.
Using a computer data base is very useful in identifying identity theft, child pornography, and misrepresentation of an individual or just any type of scam artist. The computer has in deed changed over the past twenty years. The computer can do basically anything for you. The good thing about knowing the computer and being able to analyze the computer is you learn more and more, both scientifically and logically. Even though criminals think they have erased evidence on their computer or laptop, it is still in the computer brain somewhere, it’s just up to specialists and investigators to know what exactly to do to find that stored information. Having access to a criminal’s hard drive (if able to do so) is a great advancement. It will help in a situation if every thing else has gone cold, or law enforcement cannot find any other justification.

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Is Myspace.com, Really that Popular?

April 25, 2007

It seems now a days, the well-known Internet site http://www.myspace.com , is becoming more of a place for sexual predator, nudists, and drug dealers rather than a place for social networking. Recently in the news here in Jacksonville and Neptune Beach, Florida, there has been several crackdowns on sexual predators posing as under aged juveniles, attempting to engage in sexual activities with minors. There was an incident where an over aged man, got to engage in a gradual conversation with a under aged boy. The over aged man told him, he would have to meet his “older brother” first, for his approval. Well to find out, the over aged man, attempted to have sexual encounters with this male. Luckily the younger boy was able to beat him off and report it to authorities. Not everyone is as lucky though. Neptune Beach police officers on a regular basis set up undercover stings to catch sexual predators and offenders to catch them in a violation. Recently there has been a lot of news about the popular social networking going on in the website. Questions have been raised tremendously about safety risks for its many teen users. Also the possibility of identify theft. There have been several other different issues that have risen from Myspace.com. There are actually young girls running away to meet these guys that they have met on this Internet site. Some have come up missing and some have been beaten, raped or molested. Several companies are bringing forth a new policy about Internet usage due to the fact that they spend a majority of their time surfing Myspace.com rather than doing their job. A big institution in Duval county, Baker county, and Nassau county, here in Florida are among the new comers that have fired, or suspended several of their employees. Most of these employees were city or government officials. I personally do have a Myspace account to keep up with current friends and friends from high school, college, or family out of town. There is a lot of spam or junk mail that does come across each screen name. There are a lot of sexual offenders that take advantage of young users and know exactly what they are doing. Most parents do not understand the use of Myspace.com. Although there is an age block when initially signing up for the service. However if a teenager or child sets up the account, they can easily not check the appropriate age. Forensic specialist, local law enforcement, lawyers, attorneys and child support team workers are working together to stop the solicitation of the sexual offenders. They are working together to find a way to be able to identify these users, and start a regulation for the offenders to identify themselves before creating an account. Several children and teenagers have been caught in using this website to identify themselves, as people who they truly are not. Myspace is helping and also trying to help authorities to stop these offenders, predators and people imposing to be who they are not and to mislead the community. Parents honestly do not know exactly what this website is about and what exactly the misfortunes it can lead in to. Families of runaways are helping as much as they can, to find their children and to put a stop to this web site. However there are other ones out there, for example- Hi 5. This website is very similar to Myspace. Authorities are setting traps to catch some of these users, and so far they are working pretty well. Forensic specialists have the ability to search and read all documentation throughout the screen names to help find out what exactly did happen and how it happened. This is also helping to find the runaway kids that are still out there.

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Sudden Infant Death Syndrome ( SIDS )

April 24, 2007

* SIDS is the sudden death of infants who are from 1 month to 1-year-old age. SIDS is a disease but the reason is unknown and it might be explained after performance of an autopsy, examination of the death scene.

* Most deaths from SIDS appear to the healthy infants often are between 2 and 4 months old.

A SIDS death occurs quickly and is associated with sleep. Infants suddenly turn blue, stop breathing, and become limp without crying or struggling.

* The cause of an infant death can be determined through a process of collecting information, conducting forensic tests and procedures, and taking with parents and physicians.

Health professionals use three subtypes of investigation in determining SIDS deaths are the autopsy, death scene investigation, and review of victim and family case history. Autopsy mostly finds the presence of congestion in lung, and the central nervous system demonstrates astrogliosis of brain stem and cerebellum.

SIDS is not:

– caused by vomiting, choking or infections.

– caused by tetanus vaccines or other immunization.

– contagious.

– child abuse

*More deaths are reported in the fall and winter and there is a 60-to 40- percent male-to-female ratio.

There are things that can be done to reduce the risk of SIDS.

– Parents must get medical care early in pregnancy within the first three months. Use good nutrition.

– Parents do not smoke nor use cocaine because tobacco or cocaine using during pregnancy increases the infant’s risk for SIDS.

– To prevent becoming pregnant during the teenage years. Researchers believe the SIDS rate is increased for babies born by teenage mothers.

– Parents must wait at least one year between the birth of a child and the next pregnancy.

– Parents place infants to sleep on their backs in a baby cribs with a firm mattress (not on a soft surface)

– Overheating or over-clothes the infant while he/she sleeps may increase the risk for SIDS.

– Breast milk decrease the respiratory and gastrointestinal infections which may decrease
the risk for SIDS.

* This is the worse tragedy parents can face. A tragedy, which leaves them with sadness and a feeling of vulnerability, that lasts throughout their lives.

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Is DNA effective in identifying persons?

April 19, 2007

DNA identification can be quite effective if used correctly. Portions of the DNA sequence that vary the most among humans must be used. Also, portions must be large enough to overcome the fact that human mating is not absolutely random. Consider the scenario of a regular crime scene investigation, for example: Assume that type O blood is found at the crime scene. Type O occurs in about 40-45% of Americans. If investigators type only for ABO, then finding that the accurate “suspect” in a crime is type O really doesn’t reveal very much. If, in addition to being type O, the suspect is a blonde, and blonde hair is found at the crime scene, then you now have two bits of evidence to suggest who really did it. However, there are a lot of Type O blondes out there along with brunettes.

If you find that the crime scene has footprints from a pair of Nike Air Jordans (with a distinctive tread design) or another distinct type of shoe and the suspect, in addition to being type O and blonde or brunette, he is also wearing Air Jordans or another specific shoes with the same tread design, then you are much closer to linking the suspect with the crime scene, assuming it is a male. In this way, by accumulating bits of linking evidence in a chain, where each bit by itself isn’t very strong but the set of all of them together is very strong, you can argue that your suspect really is the right person, as long as you have all the important evidence. With DNA, the same kind of thinking is used. You can look for matches (based on sequence or on numbers of small repeating units of DNA sequence) at a number of different locations on the person’s genome; one or two, maybe three aren’t enough to be confident that the suspect is the right one, but four or five can be used and are used and a match at all five is rare enough that you, a prosecutor or a jury can be very confident, that the right person is accused an acquitted.

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Forensic Nursing and Assessments

April 17, 2007

Reading through the article on Forensic Nursing, I got the thinking about all the assessment skills we are trying to perfect in class, and how they might relate to forensic nurse assessments.

I am sure there would be a thorough physical assessment done in the ED with testing for STDs and even a mental health assessment at the time. There would of course be a thorough skin assessment as part of the physical assessment to check for lacerations, bruises, hematomas, maybe even bites and burns. What I do not know is what happens to the person after the ED visits. Are they referred to counseling? Are there follow up assessments for STDs not evident initially? Would there be a follow up mental health assessment done weeks or even months later. I would think the likelihood for PTSD would be something to be considered at a later date.

What happens to the victims after the trial if there is one? Do they need to pursue these follow up assessments on their own? I would think that many would not if this is the case because of having to relive the experience again. Hopefully, someone would follow up with a phone call or scheduled visit or both some time after the incident to encourage continued assessments and treatment for physical problems as well as psychological issues.

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Security and the Lack of Feeling for the Patients

April 11, 2007

As I read “Introduction to Computers for Healthcare Professionals” by Irene Joos, the completeness of the subjects was very appropriate. It covered everything that we in the IS departments are dealing with; whether a small hospital like mines or a huge hospital in Florida where I have a friend working. She emailed me last week about the provider order manager module they are bringing up and the EHR we are currently beginning. Security, yet availability to everyone has become the hot topic. Safety and checks is the same be it for physician, nurse or patient. AARP had a great article this month about checking the safety of your hospital and what to watch for. Everyone is watching and we need to have access to this safety. The huge safety net for all of us that the “computers” are supposed to be giving us can provide “all of their help.”

The security net I am referring to is the bedside medication verification system that we have implemented and approximately 5-10% of other hospitals to date. The pharmacy has rules written for many conditions and warnings are given to the nurse. However inherent in any program is the lack of expertise (medical) involved in the development. One of the ones that come to mind; is if the drug has been given recently why are you not flagged – it’s the nurse’s responsibility to look. If the morphine is not the right amount it will still let you give it, it just tells you it may be the wrong amount. Again, problems begin to be developed if no medical person is involved in the writing of the program.

Nurses try everyday to “cheat” the system, I just think it is part of a game like playing in Vegas almost!

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Medication Errors

April 10, 2007

Medication errors—prescribing, transcribing, dispensing, and administration errors—are associated with considerable patient morbidity and mortality. Despite the medical profession’s best efforts to provide safe and effective care, research has shown an alarming incidence of unintended harm to hospitalized patients. Some argue that the commonest cause of medication error is the lack of knowledge among healthcare professionals. Hospital computerized physician order entry (CPOE) systems are widely regarded as the technical solution to medication ordering errors, the largest identified source of preventable hospital medical error. Published studies report that CPOE reduces medication errors up to 81%. Yet research has shown the CPOE system has not solved the answer to this problem. Some facilities have found using two nurses to co-sign certain medications has helped to eliminate error.

There are many ideas and attempts to help decreased the number of medication errors. I feel nurses need to be continually educated on this topic and the importance in transcribing medication orders, patient identification, and medication dispensing. If it’s as simple as writing clearer to installing a new medication dispensing system, all healthcare providers need to work together. Patients’ lives are at risk and one small mistake can be deadly.

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Continued Discussion Regarding Forensic Nursing Definition Article of September 8, 2006

April 9, 2007

My hat is off to forensic nurses! I did not realize the extent of their practice until I read the article and accompanying discussions on this topic. A lot is at stake regarding this extremely detailed and personal assessment.

I’m always been fascinated by the assessment and data collection that takes place with the victims of crime. Hence, the popularity of such television shows as “CSI and NCI.” I would imagine it to be like finding clues and hopefully piecing together a puzzle. It would have to take a very determined and strong nurse to participate in this practice day in and day without becoming cold and detached or disillusioned with the human race entirely. Maybe it requires an intense focus on compassion and aiding the victim as well as the satisfaction of helping to bring the offender of these heinous crimes to justice.

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