FORENSIC OR LEGAL MEDICINE : that branch of medicine dealing with the application of medical knowledge (both somatic and psychic human biology) to the purposes of law (de rebus medicis sub specie iuris). This term and medical jurisprudence (the application of the principles of law as they relate to the practice of medicine, to the obligations of the practitioner to his patient, and to the relations of physicians to each other and to society in general) are sometimes used as synonyms, but some authorities consider the first as a branch of medicine and the second as a branch of law.

The first structured analysis of legal medicine was written down by Paolo Zacchia (Quaestiones medico-legales) : a lesion leads to a disease, which may result in restitutio ad integrum or into a lessening Hippocrates' Oath : "I swear by Apollo the physician, and Aesculapius, and Health, and All-heal, and all the gods and goddesses, that, according to my ability and judgment, I will keep this Oath and this stipulation- to reckon him who taught me this Art equally dear to me as my parents, to share my substance with him, and relieve his necessities if required; to look upon his offspring in the same footing as my own brothers, and to teach them this art, if they shall wish to learn it, without fee or stipulation; and that by precept, lecture, and every other mode of instruction, I will impart a knowledge of the Art to my own sons, and those of my teachers, and to disciples bound by a stipulation and oath according to the law of medicine, but to none others. I will follow that system of regimen which, according to my ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of my patients, and abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous. I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel; and in like manner I will not give to a woman a pessary to produce abortion. With purity and with holiness I will pass my life and practice my Art. I will not cut persons laboring under the stone, but will leave this to be done by men who are practitioners of this work. Into whatever houses I enter, I will go into them for the benefit of the sick, and will abstain from every voluntary act of mischief and corruption; and, further from the seduction of females or males, of freemen and slaves. Whatever, in connection with my professional practice or not, in connection with it, I see or hear, in the life of men, which ought not to be spoken of abroad, I will not divulge, as reckoning that all such should be kept secret. While I continue to keep this Oath unviolated, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and the practice of the art, respected by all men, in all times! But should I trespass and violate this Oath, may the reverse be my lot!"
It deals with : Aim differs from clinical medicine as objective precision is required for probative value and to guarantee the possibility of a second opinion. E.g. for determination of ethanolemia, Modus operandi : Medicolegal activities : Activities for the living patient : Branches : Italian laws
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