The forensic odontology report

Quality assurance

From IOFOS with advice from:

Drs. Vermylen (Belgium), Prieels (Belgium), Gunst (Belgium), Grundmann (Germany), Mitsea (Greece), Sejrsen, Denmark, Dawidson (Sweden), Kvaal (Norway) and Johannessen (Norway)

If you follow the procedures:

1.  Black indicates required steps

2. Blue indicates recommended steps (may be omitted or changed without further explanation)

General

1. The forensic odontology report is a legal document and must fulfil requirements as such

a. general requirements

b. national requirements to comply with national laws

2. The report should be systematic and always end in a conclusion

3. It should be written in terms understandable to the lay person

4. A worksheet should be kept to compliment the report, documenting different stages of the investigation

The request

1. A request for odontology casework should be in writing, containing:

a. information relevant to the case

b. questions to be answered

2. Oral requests may be accepted, but should preferably be followed by a written request

The report

1. Should be on official paper (institution, your name, address, telephone, e-mail etc)

2. Should be dated, and should contain the date of the request

3. Should be an answer to the person or institution who made the request

4. Should include the reference numbers and/or relevant background information

5. Background information should be sufficient so that the report is able to stand alone and be understood without reading other documents

6. Should detail the material examined

a. when and how the material was obtained

b. what the material consisted of

c. how it was store

d. was the material marked in any way

e. was the material returned or retained by the odontologist

7. When examining a living individual

a. confirm the identity of the person

b. obtain informed consent to the examination or alternatively view (and retain a copy of) a court order

Methods used

1. Describe the methods used

2. If utilising a published method, cite reference(s)

Results

1. State the findings of the examination

2. State negative findings if relevant

3. Make sure your address the questions given

4. Give results from supplementary investigations

5. Give results from calculations etc

6. State findings outside the request if judged important for the case

Discussion

1. Discuss the nature and quality of the material

2. Discuss the methods used

3. Discuss the interpretation of the findings and results

a. the implication in relation to the problem

b.the uncertainties and limitations (probabilities, possibilities)

c. questions which could not be answered

Conclusions

1. Must be clear

2. Must not lead to misunderstanding

3. The conclusion is your honest opinion in the case - start with "according to my/our opinion----"

4. Answer the questions given in the request

5. State the certainty of your opinion and limitations

6. State conclusions outside the request only if of great importance

 Material and documentation

1. Record where relevant material is stored

2. Keep a copy of your report

Signature

1. Date of the report

2. Full name

3. Handwritten signature

4. Qualifications/position

5. State that you have done the work and interpretations to the best of you ability

6. Countersigned by a second colleague who has read the report and agreed to the conclusion

7. Present qualifications of the second colleague

8. State that you adhere to the IOFOS recommendations for quality assurance

9. State where copies of the report are sent

 

Edit 12/02/2008