I promised in some thread I can’t find to think of Eve when we were both at work on the holiday.
I recall Eve wasn’t exactly thrilled with the idea.
I got a phone call at 0235 this morning from some d$%8mbass rookie wanting to tell me we had a homicide. Yes, thanks, fine. Send it to the lab and we’ll autopsy it in the morning. Don’t call me when you have a homicide. There is no reason I need to know before 8:00.
I have a couple of other cases, I’m alone in the lab except for the fellow, and today is the fellow’s second day. So it’s going to be a long one.
Eve, as promised, I’ll stop at some point during the human disassembly proceedings, and think of you.
Now, that’s true friendship. In a rather, um, unique way…
I’m not working today, other than maybe tidying around the house. My vacation, such as it was, is over. I’m thinking again how lovely it would be to be independently wealthy or to have a Sugar Daddy or somesuch benefactor. But at least no one calls me about homocides in the wee small hours.
Maybe I’ve read too much crime fiction (Patricia Cornwell), but isn’t time of the essence? Are your techs taking surface and organ temps?n Or are things so routine that such degrees of scrutiny are often unessecary?
I ask out of curiosity, not out of accusation.
I once wanted to be a forensic pathologist. I even studied for the MCAT (which I found to be quite easy for any college student). I decided against the medical route, and persued the forensic anthropology route. Turns out most universities don’t have a major for that, let alone practical courses in it. I was going to go interdisciplinary between osteology and anthropology, but then my application for county morgue tech went unanswered (that application was like a phone book!). I was crestfallen, and gave up.
Then C.S.I. reared it’s ugly head. Damnit! Every boob from here to Helsinki is going to have an “interest” in this. They don’t know who Clyde Snow is, they wouldn’t know a pubic synthesis if it bit them in the…damn. That killed it for good.
I’m really sorry for the hijack. It’s just that things that seem mundane to you, used to be the things that sent me to the library for research.
I need to get off the plane, catch a cab to the office (where my vehicle is parked), and then submit a job this afternoon. It’s a long job that should have been started yesterday. I should only be in the office for an hour, but I’ll technically be working today.
Actually, I was working yesterday, the 3rd. Today I am home (unless my friend Donna calls to go see The Devil Wears Prada), but I am touched and warmed by the thought of you up to your elbows in murder victim, thnking of me.
I forgot to think of you until I was back at my desk, likely because the human who required disassembly was not interestingly dressed, not good looking, had got into this predicament through many embarrassingly stupid decisions, and even worse, had bad self-inflicted tattoos.
But when I got back to my desk and checked the Dope, I thought of you. From work, even if not from the stainless steel part.
Pace to Patsy and her books, but nope, such things are not necessary. Or rarely.
If a homicide occurs when two drinking buddies fall out and scrap and one gets killed, and the killer calls 911 and is on the scene when EMS and cops arrive, taking the deceased’s temperature isn’t important at all.
If God-blessed Dr — would just STOP sticking a thermometer through the skin of the deceased’s abdomen into the liver, and accidentally hitting a large portal venule, I wouldn’t be pulling my hair out wondering what 100 cc of blood is doing in the right upper quadrant.
One of the most frustrating cases I ever worked involved a guy found dead inside an open train boxcar. He had clearly been dead for some hours, during which the train had pulled through several states. Nobody wanted to investigate because nobody knew whose police department had jurisdiction… ought to spend the money. We tried the old thermometer, vitreous potassium, anything we could think of dodge, but as you know, time of death is notoriously inexact and completely temperature-dependent, and so, there’s nothing a last-seen-alive can’t accomplish better.
You know, I’m not a heck of a scene investigator. I’m good with the bodies, inexpert with the scenes around them. Knowing what to do with a scene involves the kind of magic eye for detail and pattern in chaos that is just not my strength. Police training is the best way to develop scene expertise. The few scenes I go to, I take jurisdiction over the body, and answer all questions pertaining to that. But not the rest of the scene. And you know what? A qualified CSI guy or police officer can do that just as well as I can. I’m better off in the stainless steel room with the bright lights and the rubber gloves (dear me, how that sounds). I will find you out a HECK of a lot more about the body in that room than I will at the scene.
Been to maybe twenty scenes in my working life. Don’t have police training, or forensic technician experience. I recently took the ABMDI exam and passed, but a lot of it was common sense, and it doesn’t make me a qualified scene investigator like some of these cops who are almost magic.
No, I don’t think time is of the essence when a person is dead. Most of what I can do at the scene can be done just as well the next day in the lab. A cop’s work, now there, time is of the essence. Which is why homicide investigators don’t get to go home and go to bed for so many hours after the body is discovered.
Well, of course you do. I’ve read your posts.
I wish you had gone on to forensic anthro; it’s one of my dear loves. You don’t make a lot of money for the PhD, but you do some of the most interesting work in the country, and you make scientific discoveries and help (drumroll) Justice for those least able to help themselves.
So sorry your career path didn’t work out. You want advice on going back?
I’m working a bit today too - not as diligently as you, though, gabriela. I’ve got one dam breach analysis I want to finish today. I envy your peace and quiet there in the lab. And, I hope you can finish up soon.
Thank you to the Queen of Lubricants! I’m home! I only post from home!
(I imagine the faces of my Governmental Superiors if they ever checked the work server, read my posts, and realized which one I am. A combination of Red, Outsize and Threatening… sky at morning, sailors take warning sort of faces)
Hoping you finish riding once more into the dam’ breach and get home soon!
I took a forensics class my last year of law school and wrote my paper on vitreous potassium levels as an indicator of time of death–my recollection is that it wasn’t particularly helpful in determining time of death, but that was a long time ago–has it improved at all?
I went to UConn, so Dr. Lee was one of the instructors–absolutely fascinating stories.
Another of the instructors was a lawyer/forensic anthropologist–he worked on the Richard Craft case–the guy killed his wife (I don’t remember how), then put her body through a wood chipper. They found enough of one tooth to match her dental records. I think he’s serving a life sentence.
Another worker-on-the-holiday checking in. I’m proofreading an expedited deposition transcript, 270 pages of semi-coherent witness in a will contest case. Wish I was reading a medical malpractice treating doctor or expert witness depo – those are often fascinating. At least it isn’t an economist explaining his but-for world analysis (shudder).
Next on the to-be-read pile: Two witnesses in a lawsuit over an RV rental gone bad. A long depo of a business consultant suing for a turnaround conultation fee. But I’ll probably put them aside for a thrilling battle between an insurance company and three utilities over who has to pay for a major pipe break’s damage.
When I tell people what I do for a living they usually say, “Oh, that must be interesting.” I try not to fall down laughing.