STUFF I LEARNED WHILE OBSERVING SOME AUTOPSIES
Also known as the most terrifying and interesting experience of my life
- 1.People adapt to being surrounded by corpses more quickly than they thinkI've been very, very lucky to not have had much experience around dead bodies, and as soon as I saw a hand dangling out of a body bag I immediate gagged (not just because of the intense smell). The other observing interns and I found that we were able to get past our initial fear quickly, and within 15 minutes I was getting up close and personal with bodies both open and closed.
- 2.There's a lot more stuff inside you than you thinkAs in, a lot a lot a lot more stuff
- 3.Whenever police are in any way involved in a death, a full autopsy is performed even when the cause of death seems clearIn this case, it was a man shot by police officers while he had a gun held up to someone else. Though the bullets were able to be extracted externally, it was explained to me that they have to be 100% confident about the cause of death for legal reasons.
- 4.The medical examiner is a total badass elderly woman who I'm convinced is likely God herselfShe taught us, and the medical student residents she bitched out, that a majority of what you need to know about the way someone died can be seen without ever making a cut.
- 5.Those who commit suicide by jumping in front of a train often die by electrocution from the rail before the train itself does the damageThat being said, the image of the physical aftermath of the act is totally surreal and something burned into my brain probably forever.
- 6.There are many seemingly sane people who want to do this with their livesAt first I thought this was a totally crazy choice of profession but I realized afterward that working as a medical examiner or mortuary technician allows you to take your time understanding human anatomy and disease
- 7.The people who perform autopsies are often bumping to rap musicThis did not happen on my observation day, but I was told that the day before everyone was dancing around to Cheerleader by OMI. This personally made me uncomfortable but one can imagine needing to lighten the mood somehow in that environment.