Legal Medicine in an Academic Context
After some weeks abroad, Alan R. Moritz sent these reflections on legal medicine in an academic context to Mrs. Lee to help crystalize the direction and goals of the new department.
My greatest problem to date has been to arrive at some more or less definite idea as to what a department of legal medicine at Harvard University should be…. Some of the medical aspects of scientific criminal investigation are common to all of the departments that I know anything about but otherwise the variation is great…. The expert in legal medicine should be responsible for all aspects of medical science ranging from medical jurisprudence through scientific criminal investigation, public health, industrial hygiene and psychiatry to medical penology. Such centralization of all branches of medical knowledge useful to the law in one department, called legal medicine, may be convenient to the administrators of the law but it is so impracticable from a scientific standpoint as to defeat the original purpose.
The uncertainty about the scope and varied nature of the legal medicine endeavor would prove an ongoing problem for the Medical School’s administration, the department’s personnel, and Mrs. Lee.