Also known as an autopsy, a post-mortem has been an instrumental tool used by detectives or medics in finding the causes behind various deaths.
The process is normally carried out by a team of professional medical practitioners who specialize in pathology.
An autopsy is carried on a cadaver for various purposes including criminal investigations which may want to reach the cause, mode, and manner of the death or it may be carried out for educational purposes.
In the context of criminal investigations, homicide sleuths normally pursue the process in order to establish if a death was caused by an accident, suicide, deliberate execution or it resulted out of a natural cause, all that defining a forensic autopsy.
Before an autopsy, or a post-mortem exercise is undertaken, the players normally want to examine the cadaver by outside, to spot a possible injury or force on the skin, which could have played a role in leading to the death.
The body of the deceased is weighed as the pathologists examine other external traits of the subject including their gender, skin color, hair color and so forth. They also inspect marks as tattoos, scabs or injuries that could be present on the body.
In scenarios like someone dying out of incidences like shootings, or stabbings, the pathologists always measure the wounds through which ammunition entered or a knife got in, the purpose of this being to examine and determine the closeness of the deceased and the atrocity at the time of the murder.
Nails, from the fingers, are scraped sparkling clean so that any material getting stuck on them(the nails) can be used in finding out the traces of blood or skin of the perpetrator.
If the need arises, the use of X-rays can be employed to spot any possible residues hidden underneath the bones, or finding the location of say a bullet which may have stuck inside.
For internal examination, the pathologists always reveal the internal organs around the chest area moving down the ribs. To expose the organs, an incision is done from shoulder to shoulder converging at the breast bone stretching down to the pubic bone.
After the incision, the front of the rib cage is dismantled from the body to reveal the organs under the chest and neck.
The revealed organs can thereafter be weighed to shed light on what may have been the possible cause of death. The weight being too much or little may act as a lead to a particular ailment. Some tissues may also be sourced from the organs to aid in the microscopic examination that may also help give an idea on death cause.
Whereas is not a surety that the organs may avail needed evidence on a suspected disease or cause of death, pathologists may opt to examine body fluids like urine, blood, bile or vitreous gel from the eyes, mostly in instances of poisoning.
For brain post-mortem, the practitioner dissects across the head crown, from the back of the ear to the other ear before opening the cranium to access the organs. This is done using a special saw that is capable of piercing through the bones but leaving the other delicate organs intact.
After the examination, the organs and tissues are returned to the body before the body is sewn. The body may however be sewn minus the organs being returned, that being in the event the pathologists spot the need to preserve the organs for future tests and references.
After the body is sewn, a substantive report resulting from the examination of the organs is prepared, a report that describes how the post-mortem process went on and what were the results gotten.
It is worth noting that no matter the sophisticated procedures, not all autopsies are able to reveal the different cause(s) of death(s).
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