Page 33 - Faculty of Health Sciences

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FACULTY OF health scienceS
Division of Forensic Medicine
and Toxicology
(Including the Gender, Health and Justice Research Unit)
Head of Division: Professor L.J. Martin
A range of activities related to the role of Forensic Medicine
in public policy and health promotion are being pursued.
These relate specifically to violence against women and
children, the role of drugs and toxins in deaths, and
firearm injuries. The provision of a sustainable database
on violence and injury in the Cape Town Metropole is
being implemented as an urgent research priority. We
provide inputs into the National & Provincial Injury Mortality
Surveillance System (NIMSS & PIMSS).
A large component of operational activity of the Division
of Forensic Medicine is that of service delivery. The
academic staff are on the joint staff establishment of the
University of Cape Town and the PGWC: Health; Forensic
Pathology Services. This is a fairly new programme of
the PGWC: Health, established in April 2006, when the
responsibility of “mortuary services” was transferred to
the Province from SAPS. We are responsible for the
medico-legal investigation of death of all persons who die
within the Metropole, an area comprising approximately
4,5 million persons, stretching from Atlantis on the
West Coast, the Peninsula, the City, to everything south
of the N2 up to, but not including, Khayelitsha. Our
clinical services are based at Salt River Mortuary and we
perform approx 3 500 autopsies per annum. The Division
does not yet have a dedicated research laboratory,
but this should be established in 2011. We do provide
a clinical teaching neuropathology laboratory with a
specialist neuropathologist. This, together with the heavy
investigative service load and a critical shortage of
pathologists, has limited research activities within the
Division, but this will change with the establishment of our
research laboratory and our proposed master’s course in
Forensic Science (2012).
There are active collaborations with the departments
of Anatomical Pathology, Surgery, Obstetrics and
Gynaecology, Human Genetics, Paediatrics and
Psychiatry; and EMS and the Law faculty.
Divisional Statistics
Permanent and Long-term Contract Staff
Head: Clinical Department/Professor
Head: Clinical Unit
Medical Officer
Senior Lecturer / Course Convener
Chief Medical Technologist
Medical Technologist
Administrative and clerical
Admin & Clerical (part-time)
Laboratory Assistant
Master’s (M Med)
Undergraduate (MBChB) - Year 5
Undergraduate (LLB) - Final year
Special Study Module – Year 2
Research Fields and Staff
Permanent Staff
Professor L.J. Martin
Head of Clinical Department & Professor: Management
protocols for rape survivors; domestic homicide; monitoring
implementation of rape law reforms; domestic violence
guidelines for the health sector; epidemiology of female
murder; aortic disease; indicators for the Lodox Statscan
in children; age estimations for children using Lodox
statscans; paediatric trauma and World Cup Soccer;
National study of female and children homicide in South
Africa; identification of areas for quality improvements in
preventable trauma deaths at Groote Schuur Hospital.
Dr G.M. Kirk
Head of Clinical Unit & Senior Lecturer: Sudden deaths
in sport; firearm injuries; death notification; drug-related
deaths; forensic histopathology; history of forensic
Dr Y.Y. van der Heyde
Senior Specialist & Senior Lecturer: The effects of pre-
natal alcohol exposure; paediatric mortality; animal bites
in children; early adolescent suicide, child homicide
including child abuse; sudden unexpected death in
childhood including SIDS.