Welcome to the website of Forensic Medicine

Forensic medicine activities at the university hospital UZ Leuven began in 1997. In 2005 the centre was recognised as a fully fledged, independent service within UZ Leuven. The forensic medicine centre now comprises various forensic disciplines, where medical knowledge and skills are used in the quest to discover the truth.

The service is first and foremost responsible for carrying out legal assignments in the field of legal or forensic medicine; this includes post-mortem investigation (official visit to the scene, external examination of the body, autopsy, etc.) in the event of unusual deaths, such as unexpected and/or sudden death, and suspicious or violent deaths. For the forensic autopsy in particular, our service obtained as the first in Belgium an official accreditation (ISO 17020). In addition, both victims and suspects are examined in the forensic clinic and issues such as fitness to drive, fitness for interview, determination of age and assessment of human damage are also dealt with.

One of the most important departments is the accredited biological traces laboratory (ALFOR), where examinations are carried out on pieces of evidence to find traces such as blood, sperm, hairs, microspores (such as saliva) and the DNA testing takes place (forensic genetics).

Other areas of expertise include investigations into medical error/liability and participation in boards of experts.

Criminal law and civil law assignments are of course the main activities, but private assignments are also undertaken on a consultancy basis. The medical expertise centre, CEMEX, can be contacted specifically for opinions on the assessment of human damage.

In order to enable as comprehensive as possible an expert appraisal to be provided, the centre cooperates closely with the forensic odontology department (identification, examination of bone injuries, teeth damage) and the forensic toxicology laboratory of the K.U.Leuven. Other specialists can also be called in at any time, in fields such as medical imaging, emergency medicine, paediatrics, gynaecology-obstetrics and laboratory medicine.

The service also receives support from UZ Leuven-K.U.Leuven through a quality unit led by Professor Els Dequeker.

Steps are currently being taken to develop the forensic medicine centre into a Leuven institute for forensic medicine in the future.