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Journal of the Academy of Hospital Administration

Format for Age Estimation

Author(s): Sanjeev Lalwani, Reena Kumar, TD Dogra

Vol. 16, No. 1 (2004-01 - 2004-06)

Estimation of age of an individual, whether living or dead is a subject of great medicolegal importance and is the necessity for the purpose of administration of justice. Perhaps it is the second commonest medicolegal problem after trauma. Age estimation of an individual is important in most cases of rape {section 375 IPC}, kidnapping {section 361, 366A, 366B, 369 IPC}, employment, marriage, criminal responsibility, infanticide, juvenile delinquency, impotence and sterility, etc.

In younger persons, age can be reliably determined using parameters such as physical development, secondary changes and development of teeth, radiological examination of appearance of ossification centers and fusion of epiphysis. Still the opinion of the doctors on age considering the above mentioned parameters is merely an opinion and not the full proof of age. With increase in age the reliability of parameters and accuracy of age determination decreases. While framing the opinion certain factors such as sex, racial, climactic, nutritional status, hereditary changes and endocrinal factors should be taken into consideration.

Age estimation is carried out ion the written request form the police or magistrate. Written consent of an individual should be taken. The format for reporting age consists of three parts:

1. Preamble This consists of case number, date, name, fathers name, age sex, photo, residential address of the person examined. time and place of examination, name of the authority requesting the age determination, name of the person accompanying tech person whose age is to be determined, marks of identification, signature, thumb impression and consent of the person whose age has to be determined.

2. The body report: consists of physical parameters such as height, weight,, build, chest girth at level of nipple, abdominal girth at level of navel, pubertal changes and secondary sexual characteristics. This includes the dental chart and radiological investigation advised. There are several methods for identifying, numbering and charting of teeth. However, Palmer's Notation is commonly used method because of its simplicity. In the column of radiological report, the name of the radiographer, date and time of carrying out investigation, date of receipt of report, name of radiologist giving the report, brief observations made by him and opinion expressed should be mentioned.

3. Conclusion/Age Certificate - includes the opinion regarding the age of the person considering the findings of physical, dental and radiological examination. There must be signature of the medical officer with name and designation.

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