Assessment Of Trauma

The initial sites of fly egg-laying activity on a decomposing body will normally be the natural body openings associated with the head, anus, and genitals. For many species, the pre sence of blood associated with wounds is also attractive and egg-laying occurs at those sites. A wound that occurs prior to death (antemortem), while the heart is still beating, produces blood, which is attractive to the flies. If the wound occurs following death (postmortem), similar quantities of blood are not associated with the wound and it will be less attractive to flies for oviposition. If a body is encountered during the earlier stages of decomposition with significant infestations of maggots in areas other than the natural body openings, the possibility of antemortem wounds must be considered. In like manner, if there are wounds present on the body, but infestations are primarily restricted to the natural body openings, these wounds may well be postmortem artifacts.

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