Gerichtliche Medizin

The scientific staff at the Diagnostic and Research Institute of Forensic Medicine consists of five specialists, one forensic chemist and one molecular biologist. The institute works under contract to the justice system and the police of the federated states of Styria, Carinthia and parts of Burgenland as well as for private contractors (e.g., insurance companies, determination of paternity).

Forensic autopsies are primarily conducted according to the Austrian code of criminal procedure on behalf of the investigating authorities. Furthermore, so-called sanitary police autopsies are processed according to the Styrian Undertaking Act (Steiermärkisches Leichenbestattungsgesetz). In rare cases, autopsies are also commissioned by insurance companies and private individuals.

Not only is it important to determine the time of death, above all for homicides, but knowledge is required of classic wound morphology, which reveals how injuries to the body developed and what their order was in the sequence of events.

Furthermore, special knowledge of individual differentiation as a result of peri- and postmortem factors provides considerable assistance in the identification of deceased individuals.

Chemical toxicological analysis is conducted in connection with autopsies and during patient treatment and serves to detect or rule out intoxication with poisonous substances.


Univ. FA Dr. med. univ.
Peter Hofer