An autopsy is an examination of the body after death. It usually consists of an external and an internal examination of the body. The external examination also documents identifying features such as scars, tattoos or other markings which may assist in the identification of the body. The internal examination looks at the internal organs to document any natural disease processes and/or injury .Its purpose is to learn the truth about the persons health during life and how the person really died, These situations include, violent deaths such as homicides, accidents, and suicides. Other categories are suspicious deaths, sudden and expected deaths, deaths in children and infants, prisoners, persons under the care of an institution, situations where illicit drugs or alcohol may have contributed to the death, deaths occurring during or in close proximity to a surgical procedure, deaths in individuals not under the care of a physician or when the private physician is unable or unwilling to certify the death certificate, and deaths when there is suspicion of a public health threat.
An autopsy is performed by specially trained physician, a forensic pathologist. They are performed in the medical examiner's or coroner's office. Sometimes they are performed in a funeral home or hospital setting.
The basic autopsy is performed by making a y shape incision from shoulders to mid chest and down to the pubic region. If the head is to be open the pathologist makes a second incision across the head, joining the bony prominence just below and behind the ear. The pathologist uses scalpel for these incisions. There is almost no bleeding, since a dead body has no blood pressure except that produced by gravity . The scalp and the soft tissue in front of the chest are then reflected back. Then the cartilages that join the ribs to the breastbone is cut in order to enter the chest cavity .this is done using a scalp, a saw, or a special knife. When the breast bone and attached rib cartilage are removed, they are examined. Often they are fractured during cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The chest organs, including the heart and lungs, are inspected. After any organ is removed, the pathologist will save a section in preservative solution. The pathologist takes blood from the heart to check for bacteria in the blood. For this, he uses a very large hypodermic needle and syringe. He may also find something else that will need to be sent to the microbiology lab to search for infection. The pathologist will send blood, urine, bile, or even the fluid of the eye for chemical study and to look for medicine, street drugs, alcohols, and/or poisons. After the chest has been examine the abdominal cavity is inspected, the first dissection in the abdomen is usually freeing up the large intestine. Some pathologist do this with a scalpel, while others use scissors. Freeing up the intestines takes some time. The intestines and other organs in the abdominal cavity are taken out an examine for any abnormalities, drugs, poisons, and diseases . Once the chest and the abdominal cavity is examine , the scalp is examine, the skull vault is opened using two saw cuts, one in front and one in back. The top of the skull is removed and the brain is very carefully cut free of its attachments from inside the skull, inspecting the brain often revels surprises. a good pathologist takes some time to do this as well with the other organs.
Once the all the internal organs have been examine the pathologist may return all but the portions they have saved to the body cavity, or the organs may be cremated without being returned. The breastbone and ribs are usually replaced in the body. The skull and trunk incisions are sewed shut in a base ball style stitch. Then the body is washed and is then ready to go to the funeral director.
After all that is done the pathologist submits the tissue they save to the histology lab, to be made into slides. Once the slides return pathologist will examine the sections look at any lab work and draw a final conclusion on how the person really died.
The career of a forensic pathologist takes many years of schooling to prepare oneself for that career it begins with a four year college degree, followed by four years of medical school. After medical school, the young physician begins a three to five year residency training program in general pathology. The exact duration depends on whether the program is in anatomic pathology, or both anatomic and clinical pathology. To become a forensic pathologist the perquisite training program must include at least anatomic pathology. After completion of a residency program, the pathologist must have a one year specialty training program in forensic pathology at a medical examiner or coroners office. Once the forensic pathologist has successfully completed the required years of pathology and forensic pathology training at an accredited institution. The American board of pathology issues certificates to those individuals who have met the necessary requirements. A forensic pathologist works long hours and also it depends on how many dead people there is in the coroner or medical office and also the number of pathologist. It also it varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. A forensic pathologist also works a lot with criminal investigators and with a lot of criminal justice agencies on helping them out to see how a person really died if either it was foul play or an accident . a forensic pathologist helps a criminal investigators slove cases that include both civil and criminal and death and injury investigations with there experties . with all there experties a forensic pathologist is considered an expert witness by the government
and is frequent called to testify in a court of law,
So as you can see an autopsy is performed for a variety of reason from a family wanting to know how a love one died to a criminal investigation. So as you can see that an forensic pathologist is a investigator and an autopsy is a investigative technique but the main purpose still stands for a autopsy is to learn the truth about the persons health during life and how the person really died.

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