Medical and Forensic Toxicology

Aim of the course

The aim of the course is to introduce participants to medical and forensic toxicology. Much attention will be paid to the daily practice of medical and forensic toxicology. The course will focus on the recognition and treatment of human intoxications and human risk assessment in the framework of incidents.

The course will extensively cover the general approach of specific diagnosis and treatment of acutely or chronically intoxicated patients. Many aspects of human intoxications will be dealt with during a series of lectures, demonstrations, tutorials and practical exercises. The need and interpretation of analytical toxicological analysis will be discussed. The basic principles of toxicokinetics and toxicodynamics in human toxicological research will be explained and how to use this knowledge for human risk assessment.
In view of the nature of the toxicologist, much attention will be paid to proper risk assessment, communication and management of incidents caused by the release of toxic agents and exposure to ionizing radiation, and furnishing the information for organizations and individuals involved in the diagnosis and treatment of groups of persons/patients. In this framework, the specific role of the toxicologist and a Poisons Information Centre will be dealt with.
Forensic toxicology involves toxicological studies in connection with (preliminary) legal investigations. These studies are carried out to clarify whether individuals have been intoxicated with certain substances and whether this can explain e.g. death or effects on driving or behavior. All this is aimed to explore whether a crime has taken place and answering the questions ‘how’ and ‘by whom’. The possible cause(s) of the intoxication needs to be evaluated and proven. This requires good communication and cooperation between forensic toxicologists, medical/clinical toxicologists, municipal coroners, forensic pathologists, public prosecutors and lawyers. The specific roles of these disciplines in forensic toxicology and the relevance for the toxicologist will elucidated.

On successful completion of the course the participant should:

  • have obtained knowledge on a general approach of acute or chronic intoxicated patients concerning diagnosis and treatment;
  • have obtained practical knowledge on the interpretation of laboratory results in the framework of the exposed human being;
  • have obtained knowledge on the role of the toxicologist in emergency response service following release of toxic agents or exposure to ionizing radiation;
  • have obtained knowledge on the role of the toxicologist in forensic toxicology.

Coordinator: Prof.dr.D.W. de Lange

Lecturers are staff of

  1. National Poisons Information Centre (NVIC)
  2. IC-division and Julius Centre UMC Utrecht
  3. Several Centres of the RIVM
  4. Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI)
  5. Regional Office Arnhem of the Public Prosecution Service

The final grade of this course will be based on the individual presentation of a case-study.

Please note that the course can be cancelled up to one month before its starting date, when the number of applications is below the minimum required. For general inquiries please contact the PET Office.

Molecular Toxicology
Legal and Regulatory Toxicology