When you think of places where you might find highly-detailed medical illustrations, the first thing that comes to mind might be a doctor’s office or med school textbook. But did you know that medical illustrations are commonly used in legal proceedings as well?
These aren’t the rough courtroom sketches you see on TV. Rather, these medical illustrations are typically used as pieces of evidence to be examined by a jury. In cases where a plaintiff suffered a traumatic internal injury, for example, medical illustrations might be used as explanatory tools to help jurors understand the nature and extent of the injury. They could also be used to illustrate the steps in a surgical procedure, or identify certain anatomical features relevant to a case.
Whereas photographs can sometimes be difficult for jurors to interpret, medical illustrations can be tailored to be as clear and informative as possible. In cases that involve serious injuries or invasive surgeries, an illustration might also be less disturbing to jurors, and consequently less likely to evoke emotions that could impair their judgement.
These cross-sectional illustrations can bring esoteric medical jargon to life, allowing jurors to better understand the important details of a case. Thanks to their ability to explain complex procedures and reveal internal structures, medical illustrations have proven to be invaluable tools for prosecution and defense teams alike.
To learn more about how medical illustrations can be used in court cases, check out a few examples of my legal work here!