This is why I am doing this rotation. Nowhere else am I going to be able to be elbow deep in someone's chest looking for the traumatic aortic rupture, or holding someone's brain following the path of a bullet with my finger. (By the way, the pic is a Jello mold not a real brain.)
I wanted to quickly respond to some questions I received from Betty:
- The ME's office gets cases that warrant a forensic medical examinination as deemed by the County Coroner (there's a difference between coroner and medical examiner), and cases that fall under certain protocols - an unwitnessed death in a person who has not been under a doctor's care for a certain period of time, any death involving an inmate, an unexplained or unnatural death (murder, suicide, accident), deaths involving children or infants, and several other specific circumstances.
- We have a protocol sheet we follow in the E.D. and in the hospital when there's a death. We have to call the M.E.'s office, and they "sign-off" or take the case. If there is an autopsy that's not the same thing... a family can ask for an autopsy and that is performed by the hospital pathologist.
- I usually don't participate in autopsies, but I occasionally get to cut something or dissect an organ, and I get to touch most things after the official examination is done, which is a good thing because I am not a "spectator"
Tomorrow is an off day, so I will be back at the ME's on Thursday. Here's the case list from the last few days, including 3 suicides -