The Department of Legal Medicine was established in 1957 by Professor Baba, who was also the professor of the Department of Pathology. In the same year, Assistant Professor Yoshihiro Sukegawa joined as a full-time faculty member on May 1 from Osaka University.
Professor Tokuzo Omura of Osaka University became an adjunct instructor, and when he retired from Osaka University in 1958, he joined as the first full-time professor and chair. From April 1961, Assistant Professor Sukegawa took the position of the second professor and chair until he retired in March 1990.
In October of the same year, Assistant Professor Hitoshi Maeda of Kanazawa University joined as the third chair/professor. As part of graduate school reform, Osaka City University reorganised the graduate school in April 2000.
The Department of Legal Medicine chose not to change its name and became a member of the newly organised cluster of departments in urban medicine. When Professor Hitoshi Maeda retired in March 2015, Professor Takaki Ishikawa of Tottori University took the position of the fourth chair as of April 2015.
Historically, this department conducted pathophysiological and biochemical studies on the cause and pathological analysis of sudden deaths, forensic neuropathology and neuropsychiatric research to objectively evaluate the level of traumatic stress, preparation of diagnostic criteria for sudden infant death syndrome and forensic compensation medicine research pertinent to traffic and medical accidents.
Presently, we are performing studies on hormone dynamics in various diseases during autopsies, on drug susceptibility using cultured cells from various organs and on the impact of a stress environment using mice, entitled ‘morphological and molecular biological studies of the central nervous system and endocrine system organs under stress’ with the ultimate goal of deciphering the process of dying from various types of stress.
In addition, continuing with previous departmental research concepts, we perform routine physiobiochemical tests and post-mortem image examinations as a guide for acute reactions to injuries and onset of illnesses towards evidence-based objective forensic pathological diagnoses.
The total number of diagnoses from the opening of the department in 1959 to the end of September in 2015 is 7,367. In addition, we have conducted many examinations for courts across Japan, requested by prosecutors and attorneys, in regard to criminal and civil trials.