Medico-legal aspects of deaths related to neglect and abandonment in the elderly

  • Francesco Ventura
  • Fiorella Caputo
  • Andrea Molinelli
Short Communication


As life expectancy increases, the phenomenon of the neglect of elderly persons is becoming increasingly relevant in the fields of both medicine and social care. This work analyses the cases of two subjects whose deaths initially seemed to have been attributable to natural causes. The autopsy findings and the analysis of clinical data, however, were able to establish that neglect had played a determining role in their deaths. These cases highlight the need for healthcare workers to be more alert to the clinical signs of neglect. Finally, in cases of death, the forensic pathologist must conduct a meticulous post-mortem examination to detect the physical signs of neglect and to establish if abuse has been responsible for the death.


Neglect Elder abuse Medical and legal report Preventive actions 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

For this type of study formal consent is not required.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Legal and Forensic MedicineUniversity of GenovaGenoaItaly

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