A physician is a professional who deals broadly in the health care of individuals and matters of life and death. Most people, at one point or another in their lifetimes, require medical attention for health issues of varying severity. On the other hand, there are also many people who stay relatively healthy throughout their entire lives. However, death comes to all of us, without exception. Death does not just wipe a person off the family register; it also affects relatives and other people left behind through various social consequences involving inheritance, insurance, judicial rulings, and so forth. In the event of death, only a physician has the authority to confirm end of life and prepare death certificates or postmortem certificates. Death certificates are issued at the close of medical treatment while postmortem certificates are issued when individuals die under other circumstances. A diagnosis of death, given as an extension of routine health care, suffices in situations where a person expires in conjunction with the close of medical treatment. On the other hand, deaths occurring under other circumstances require the services of a physician who can perform a professional postmortem examination. Those pursuing legal medicine learn the knowledge required for performing such specialized services.
Legal medicine is a practical science that applies this knowledge toward postmortem examinations and evaluations. Hence, the goal of research is to translate findings into better precision in the practice of forensic diagnosis and evaluation. Moreover, research focuses on various unresolved issues encountered during the practice of forensic diagnosis and evaluation in three major areas: forensic pathology in regard to the human body, toxicology, and personal identification.