Classification of Wounds

Any doctor may be asked to examine a person who has been wounded, particularly in casualty.

Forensic physicians and pathologists are also asked to examine wounds, whether they are serious or trivial, and whether the injured person is alive or dead.

The identification and description of wounds may have serious medico-legal implications at a later stage, and often after some considerable time has passed since the wounding. It is therefore essential that different types of wounds can be correctly identified and described, with a full description being made in notes taken at the time of, or shortly after the examination ('contemporaneous notes').

A wound is the term given to tissue damage caused by mechanical force. This includes wounds caused by stabbing, blunt trauma (punching, kicking, beating etc), strangling, biting, shooting, falling from a height, being hit by a vehicle, and blast trauma from explosives.

Descriptions of wounds must include,

The following pages will illustrate the main types of wounds, including

Some Research into Wound Analysis

Criminal Mutilation of the Human Body in Sweden—A Thirty-Year Medico-Legal and Forensic Psychiatric Study, Jovan Rajs, Maja Lunostrom, Magnus Brobero, Lars Lidhero, And Olle Lindquist, Journal of Forensic Sciences 43:3 p563-581 (1998)


Interpretation Of Fatal, Multiple, And Exiting Gunshot Wounds By Trauma Specialists, Collins, Kim A.; Lantz, Patrick E., Journal Of Forensic Sciences 39:1. (1/94). p94-99, 1994


Identification Of Gunpowder In Healed Wounds, Smith, O. C.; Berryman, H. E.; Symes, S. A.; LeVaughn, M. M., Journal Of Forensic Sciences 38:3. (5/93). p739-741, 1993


Characteristic Features Of Entrance Wounds From Hollow-Point Bullets, Smith, O'Brian C.; Symes, Steven A.; Berryman, Hugh E.; LeVaughn, Mark M., Journal Of Forensic Sciences 38:2. (3/93). p323-326, 1993


Interpretation Of Unusual Wounds Caused By Firearms, Stone, Irving C.; Petty, Charles S., Journal Of Forensic Sciences 36:3. (5/91). p736-740, 1991


External Beveling Of Cranial Gunshot Entrance Wounds, Peterson, Brian L., Journal Of Forensic Sciences 36:5. (9/91). p1592-1595, 1991


Reflective Ultraviolet Imagining System (RUVIS) And The Detection Of Trace Evidence And Wounds On Human Skin, West, Michael H.; Barsley, Robert E.; Frair, John; Hall, Fred, Journal Of Forensic Identification 40:5. (9-10/90). p249-255, 1990


Fatal Arrow Wounds, Hain, John R., Journal Of Forensic Sciences 34:3. (5/89). p691-693, 1989


Comparison Of Gunshot Wounds And Field-Tipped Arrow Wounds Using Morpholic Criteria And Chemical Tests, Randall, Brad; Newby, Paul, Journal Of Forensic Sciences 34:3. (5/89). p579-586, 1989


Ultraviolet Photography Of Wounds On Human Skin, West, Michael H.; Friar, John A.; Seal, Michael D., Journal Of Forensic Identification 39:2. (3-4/89). p87-96, 1989


Suicidal Contact Wounds To The Head With 38 Special Glaser Safety Slug Ammunition, Jones, Allen M.; Reyna, Morris, Jr.; Sperry, Kris; Hock, David, Journal Of Forensic Sciences 32:6. (11/87). p1604-1621, 1987


Cranial Fracture Patterns And Estimate Of Direction From Low Velocity Gunshot Wounds, Smith, O'Brien C.; Berryman, Hugh E.; Lahren, Craig H., Journal Of Forensic Sciences 32:5. (9/87). p1416-1421, 1987