English 1010 sect. 13
How to Perform an Autopsy
An autopsy is performed on the body of a corpse. Normally, the examination of the dead person and is executed first and foremost to determine the cause of death, to identify or characterize the extent of disease states that the person may have had, or to determine whether a particular medical or surgical treatment has been effective. There is a type of autopsy called a forensic autopsy, like those done on T.V. shows such as CSI, where there are legal implications and it is performed to if determine time of death was an accident homicide, suicide, or natural event (Stöppler, M.D.).
When someone dies under mysterious circumstances, what happens next? Most states in the United States have laws that require certain types of deaths be investigated. For example deaths that include, delayed complications of injuries, poisoning, infectious complications, foul play, and people who die with no attending physician. “If the death meets any of the above criteria, it must be reported to the local medical examiner or coroner for investigation and a legal determination of the cause of death. The main tool of this investigation is the autopsy.” Typically a pathologist and the medical examiner work together to tell what is the cause of death. The pathologist searches for disease inside or on the surface of the corpse.
The routine medical autopsy follows a set procedure to ensure the proper examination of a corpse. Before the autopsy can begin, several steps must be taken (Stahl-Herz). Inside a body bag or under an evidence sheet, the dead body is brought to either the medical examiner’s office or to the hospital. Body bags are closed and sealed to prevent any contamination or evidence loss during transportation. However, the body is refrigerated in the morgue if the autopsy is not performed immediately (Valdes). The body is placed on the autopsy table. The table is a waist-high that is tested for running... [continues]
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