I realize this is the 3rd post in one day, but I have 3 months of stories already built up (and there really is at least one story a day), so bear with me.
Yesterday afternoon was slow, and Carrie brought in some cookies so we were doing what people naturally do when an afternoon is slow and there are fresh, warm cookies. We sat and talked. Nancy is an investigator that used to be a tech. Somehow the conversation leapfrogged from a case where a little toy dog had been chewing on her owner after she expired, to a story I knew about a pair of german shepards decapitating their owner, to decapitated heads. Nancy brought up the fact of how surreal a decapitated head looks. It looks fake and she said all she could think about was “Damn, this is heavy!” Which Carrie concurred. Decapitated heads are weird in person. Nancy brought up the interesting point that I hadn’t thought of, which was how the hell do you cut into it then? As a tech, it’s just standard procedure to cut open the head to look at the brain. I was thinking about what the point would even be, considering that cause of death is a wee bit obvious when you have someone that chose decapitation via train tracks as their chosen way to go, but rules are rules and I can see how some doctor would want the thing opened anyway. So I asked her what she did. Would you have someone hold it? Brace it? She couldn’t remember what she did, just the dilemma. I said I’d want a woodworking vice or something. Speaking of which, you’d be surprised at how many unconventional tools we find uses for. Restaurant supplies are a big one. Personally, I’ve been thinking about purchasing a bunch of hair ties for my station. One day, a doctor lamented that we didn’t have a belt.
Another part of the cookie conversation earlier in the day was that Nancy was asking us techs if we take out vaginas. Not at our office. Apparently some do, especially in cases of sexual assault. But we don’t, and personally I feel like cutting one out would do more harm than good when looking for evidence. And does anyone ever cut off the penis? But anywho, Nancy said she was curious if that was the norm because one day at her former office as a tech she was assisting a doc with an autopsy. This doctor was a particularly sloppy doctor and tended to make a big mess, which is irksome for techs because we do to the clean up. At this office it was also set up in a way in which the cutting boards for organs used by the pathologists were placed over the body. On this particular autopsy, Nancy turned around to clean up some of the literal shit left by the doctor. When she turned back around Sudden Vagina! being cut on the board. Nope, we don’t do that.
Medical examiner conversations are the best conversations.