This past Saturday was my first real experience with a cadaver, and it went pretty well. We had to wake up very early for our latent print class at the Health Sciences building where the cadaver lab is set up. I arrived early, awake and alert, because this was big. I am one of the many people who have only seen dead people at funerals, laying neatly in a coffin dressed in their best attire.
When we arrived we suited up in Tyvek suits with gloves, which basically was a one piece white plastic outfit with a zipper starting at the knees and going up to the chin. Then they told us to get with our groups and pick a body. At random it turns out that my group picked the most recent body, tagged 2008.
After unzipping the bag and analyzing our guy, we got to work. Our job was to get a good 10 print card with his fingerprints. this might sound easy, but you’d be surprised. Dead bodies don’t move easily like live ones and peoples hands tend to curl up when they die as the bodies moves in the fetal position, which makes it even harder to retrieve prints. After learning all kinds of technique we were able to retrieve the prints and actually won points for the best ten print card. Our palm prints on the other hand, they were not so good.
But, while we were taking our fingerprints a girl in my group was trying to pry his pointer finger away from his palm and she definitely snapped it. We freaked! We were trying to cover it up but it was just dangling at that point and we thought we were going to fail. How does that happen? How could we break a dead guys finger? The instructors saw but they didn’t get too mad, they said it was all about learning anyway, which we definitely did learn that lesson real quick.
When we had finished doing everything we needed on our corpse we went around and examined the other groups bodies, there were five altogether: 4 males, and one female. The last man, whom was deemed Walter by the pathology students was a little worse for wear. He was dated back to 2006 and the formaldehyde smell was slightly overbearing when you neared him. When I went over to have a look, I realized that he was cut open, he was the autopsy demo and he was missing his head.
Since this was my first experience I decided to get the most of it and so I poked around for a bit. Needless to say I have a better understanding as to where everything in the body goes and I’ve touched all the body parts. Today was the real test and I passed. IT won’t be as easy out in the field, not dying of natural causes, but it will be do able, and I think I’m going to love it.
Confessions of a Writer<3