Response to blog on Monday November 28, 2005 Forensic Photography


It really goes to show that photography is a very very important part of the nursing assessment. It seems that without good photos of an injury or assault, there is not much to go on, especially in court. Pictures can tell a powerful story when it comes to criminal forensics. It could make or break the case. Some nurses could easily overlook the importance. It is so grilled in school about documenting everything in the nurses notes, that sometimes photos get overlooked. Not only in the forensic setting, but also when patients in general are admitted or come into the hospital with obvious bruises or lacerations, or even pressure ulcers, it is so important to take good pictures so that it is well known that the patient came in with the injury. Otherwise, the hospital could be liable if the patient accuses the nurse or other personnel of causing the injury.

Original Post:
November 28, 2005
In recent posts we have talked about the procedure for using photography to document evidence in criminal investigations and how photographic evidence can be helpful in documenting injury cases

Here we revisit this topic on how the photography of injuries can tell a story for those trained in forensic nursing and science.

A photograph can be a powerful witness in court. A genital tear during a sexual assault, a bruised arm where a victim was grabbed, linear bruising from a lash with a belt, all tell a story. However, the impact of the story can be lost if the the photography is not done well.

A forensic nurse may not testify in a particular case for a year or more. Many other cases may
have come and gone by then. A close-up photo may be displayed in court and the nurse should be able to describe exactly what she sees. Sometimes a photo is so close-up that no one can tell where on the body the injury is located. There may be no way to identify the size of the injury.

Each injury should have at least three photographs. One should be from a distance to show the viewer where on the body an injury is located. For example, a photo of a bruise on the cheek should be taken from a distance to show the whole face. That way the jury can see that it is the left cheek and it is approximately the same size as the victim’s eye. The next photo should be somewhat closer and the final photo should be close-up to show detail such as shape and color. In at least one of these photographs a ruler should be held near the wound to show the exact measurement. Good photography can result in an accurate story being told.

If you are ready to pursue Certification in Forensic Nursing Online, Canyon College is now accepting applications.



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