Legal medicine journal pulls paper over image goof

Irony alert: The Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine, which really ought to know better, is retracting a 2012 article by an Australian researcher that threatened to run afoul of…privacy law.

The article, “A challenging injury interpretation: Could this be a stab wound?” was written by Les Griffiths, of the Clinical Forensic Medical Unit at University of Queensland in Brisbane. According to the notice:

This article has been removed at the request of the author, consistent with Elsevier Policy on Article Withdrawal. Please see

This article contains two autopsy images which could allow identification of the deceased and therefore must be removed to protect their identity. Apologies are offered to readers of the journal that this was not detected during the submission process.

The article’s abstract certainly seems to raise a good point:

Forensic practitioner should exercise caution in the forensic interpretation of suspicious wounds at death scenes, at least until there is an opportunity to fully explore the wound and its relationship to underlying structures and bony landmarks. This is especially so in cases of apparent suicide. A case is presented which not only illustrates the challenges which may face the examiner at a death scene in injury interpretation, but also, where there remains a lingering doubt that the autopsy did not address all of the concerns expressed by both scenes of crime scientific officers and the forensic medical examiner.

For more from this journal, see Ivan’s writeup of a case report in which doctors blame marijuana-induced psychosis — aka “reefer madness” — for “self-amputation of penis.”

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