Skeletal age determination in adolescents involved in judicial procedures: from evidence-based principles to medical practice

Journal of Medical Ethics 36 (2):71-74 (2010)
Background The ideal basis of age estimation is considered to be a combination of clinical, skeletal and dental examinations. It is not easy to determine how forensic physicians take account of evidence-based data obtained from medical journals in their medical decision-making. The question of what is an ethically acceptable probability that adolescents are incorrectly considered to be over 18 has not been answered. Methods In a retrospective study over 1 year (2007), 498 files (for 141 female subjects and 357 male subjects) regarding age assessment requested by the public prosecutor's office for purposes of criminal or asylum proceedings were reviewed. Chronological age was estimated from a combination of physical examination, radiographic examination of the left hand and determination of dental status. Results Estimates of chronological age in 498 subjects claiming to be 9–14 years old were incompatible with the alleged age in 356 (71%) when made by the forensic physician but in only 17 (3%) when based on data from published studies on age estimation in adolescents. Conclusions The present study suggests that in most cases the forensic physician ignores the adolescent's word. Medical mission and ethics imply a need to listen to the claims of persons in custody, whatever the risk of false claims. This situation should prompt forensic physicians to keep up with published data on estimating the age of adolescents
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1136/jme.2009.031948
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 22,585
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Maya J. Goldenberg (2010). Clinical Evidence and the Absent Body in Medical Phenomenology. International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethiics 3 (1):43-71.
Anne Pirrie (2001). Evidence-Based Practice in Education: The Best Medicine? British Journal of Educational Studies 49 (2):124 - 136.
Alan G. Johnson (2006). Making Sense of Medical Ethics: A Hands-on Guide. Distributed in the U.S.A. By Oxford University Press.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

6 ( #497,865 of 1,938,583 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #452,035 of 1,938,583 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.