Hooo-Hooo Volume 10, Nr 2 - Page 14

WildLife Group of the SAVA importance. The common practice of to randomly throw a few bits and pieces of tissues into containers and requesting the lab to ‘look at them’, is an inadequate practice. Inadequately and poorly selected samples lacking information and a broad request, for instance, to look for poisons, are inadequate and unprofessional practices. Do not then blame the lab for not coming up with the results that you expected. Using dirty containers, the contamination of specimens, and permitting blood and tissue to putrefy, are all factors that detract from the accuracy required to provide good laboratory results. Packaging (triple layer) and maintaining a cold chain are other critical issues. There are international and national regulations governing the way in which you should submit biological specimens for transport so as not to endanger people involved in transporting the samples. Meticulously maintain the chain-of-custody in forensic cases. Excess material (organs and other biological specimens) should be preserved should it be required for additional or repeat laboratory procedures. 14. Animal identification This is a critical issue and all animals should be identified so that there is no doubt about their identity. Use all means at your disposal and be meticulous about detail. All methods should be taken into consideration, including DNA analyses (Keep in mind that all DNA work, except for rhinos, is done contractually by the National Zoological Gardens). There are comprehensive new regulations with emphasis on the chain-of-custody that apply to the collection and submission of specimens for DNA analysis for identification purposes. 14 15. Recording your findings Many necropsy reports are sketchy affairs and they often contain less information than that which is included in the final report to the owner. The necropsy record/report is a comprehensive document, and should be detailed and inclusive of all lesions. Become accustomed to make extensive, detailed notes of all observations, and do it while in the process of doing the necropsy – do not leave it for later. This record should be supplemented by detailed photography. This report is technical and it is not intended to be sent to the client. In itself, it is meaningless, unless these findings are integrated with all other observations. 16. Final report • This report summarises all the findings of the investigation: necropsy findings, history, and laboratory results. These results should be synthesised to make a final diagnosis and conclusion. • The report should be written in general/nontechnical language. • It may eventually be submitted to a court as part of the evidence required to finalize a claim. • It should summarize all findings and observations, including post-mortal findings, and laboratory reports. • It should be in good language, factual, and without spelling mistakes. • It should reflect competence and professionalism. • In respect of all records, and reports related to the case, expect a word-by-word, and line-by-line evaluation of the content, should it go to court. Attention to the smallest detail is of the utmost importance and refraining from paying attention to it may jeopardise the case. Reference AR Moritz, 1981. Classical mistakes in forensic pathology. American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, 2, 299 - 308