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New Frontiers and Old Challenges: How to Manage Incidental Findings When Forensic Diagnosis Goes Beyond

Authors
  • Caenazzo, Luciana
  • Tozzo, Pamela
  • Dierickx, Kris
Type
Published Article
Journal
Diagnostics
Publisher
MDPI
Publication Date
Sep 22, 2020
Volume
10
Issue
9
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3390/diagnostics10090731
PMID: 32971910
PMCID: PMC7555971
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

Incidental findings (IFs) are well known in medical research and clinical practice as unexpected findings having potential health or reproductive importance for an individual. IFs are discovered under different contexts but do not fall within the aim of a study, and/or are unanticipated or unintentionally revealed, and/or are not the specific focus or target of the particular research or clinical query. Today, in forensic settings, we can consider as incidental findings all the information that is neither related to the cause of death nor to the dynamic of the event or the scope of the forensic investigation. The question whether and how professionals should consider traditional values as guiding notions in the reporting of IFs in the context of forensic assessments is the focus of this article. We propose a descriptive analysis, which focuses on the forensic field, describing forensic situations in which IFs may occur, and whether and to whom they may be disclosed. Some considerations will be provided regarding forensic experts concerning their moral commitment to warn relatives about IFs.

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