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Was told yesterday that next Monday I would be watching a PM and getting a talk from the pathologist. Part of our 24 week initial course currently in week 17. Any tips :rolleyes: 

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It is a rare opportunity indeed these days. MY first was not a great hit but it started me smoking again, after being stopped for 12 months.

Visually I had no problem, as I was told, "Do not think of it as a body, but a piece of meat in a butchers shop. It is a corpse, no feelings but a dead body".  I was ok with that as I got the visual impact correct in my mind.  However the smell was something that I got completely wrong although, at subsequent P.M.'s it did not affect me because I then knew what to expect.  If you want a tip to help with that, get a small jar of "Vick" and smear a very small amount on your nostrils it masks the smell, and that advice was given to me by a pathologist.

If you watch and listen you should find it extremely interesting, if he is giving a commentary on what he is doing; showing the sights of a Cardio infarction (Heart attack), or of Cranial haemorrhage (Stroke).  If he corpse is of a smoker he/she will show you the condition of the lungs. Non Smoker pink and healthy whereas a smoker will look black and resemble more of a large piece of Coke from a fire. Also prepare yourself for when they use a saw to open the skull, it can be like a dentist drill going through you. There will be many who will leave the room, or even pass out, it is nothing unusual. 

Hope this does not put you off too much but, hopefully it may prepare you better.

Edit, Forgot to mention, the body was once a person so treat the whole process with respect.

Edited by Zulu 22
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Thank for the reply. Someone else  told me to apply some vick's that seems like a good idea. Although initially I'm not going to because I want to experience that smell so I know what to look for in future experiences as I've never seen a corpse before and I've heard there's no other smell like it. 

 

In in regards to the visual factor I think that could be something I find difficult I don't think I'll know how I'll deal with that until the day. 

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A dead body in police terms is essentially the same as any other evidence - it's a piece of a jigsaw which needs putting together. Treat it like that.

In terms of smell, there's a difference between a corpse which has laid undiscovered for several days, which is as much a taste as a smell, and a recently deceased body which is being cut open. 

The Vicks suggestion is a good one.

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Most Forces, I know of, these days had dedicated Officers acting as Coroners Officers so an officer never sees a PM. It is good experience though as you never know what you will have to deal with. If you have a rather messy Sudden Death to attend you would not want the embarrassment of keeling over in front of the public, so it could prepare people better. I was lucky as I was a Cadet and I was taken to a rather messy death and the Officer took me with him to the PM. Both he, and the Pathologist talked me through the whole process which was invaluable.

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I have attended a number of them, including a few "specials" which are enhanced examinations. Please do park the whole squeamishness issue and treat this as what it is. This is a golden opportunity to learn some very interesting things while being lectured by an expert in the pathology field. Don't squander it by worrying and focus on the learning you can achieve.


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5 hours ago, Zulu 22 said:

Most Forces, I know of, these days had dedicated Officers acting as Coroners Officers so an officer never sees a PM. It is good experience though as you never know what you will have to deal with. If you have a rather messy Sudden Death to attend you would not want the embarrassment of keeling over in front of the public, so it could prepare people better. I was lucky as I was a Cadet and I was taken to a rather messy death and the Officer took me with him to the PM. Both he, and the Pathologist talked me through the whole process which was invaluable.

Crikey crumbs! Police Officers working as Coroner's Officers - that takes me back. All of our Coroner's Officers are employed directly by the Coroner these days, although admittedly most are ex job.

As for PM's, I've never known a Coroner's Officer attend one. The only presence outside of Pathology will be SOCO and/or an SIO if the circumstances merit it. PC's will sometimes attend for continuity purposes to ID the body to the Pathology team.

I've been to a few - mostly RTC victims and unrecognisable as human beings if truth be known, inlcluding burners who resembled large joints of meat.

All the advice here is sound - treat it as a learning opportunity and don't think of the corpse as a human being. It isn't. It ceased being a person at the point of death.

Edited by billysboots

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