February 1st-5th

I FINALLY turned 18 and was able to start at my internship a week later at the local coroner’s office. The first day there I was just told a lot about what goes into the job of a deputy coroner and was shown a lot of the paperwork that is required every time someone dies.

The second day was a lot more interesting. I was placed with Gary, the deputy coroner on call that week (the office has five deputy coroners and they are put on a rotating schedule-whoever is on call during a specific week responds to all the calls that come in. If he is already on a call, the deputy coroner on 2nd during that week will respond). He took me to the morgue and showed me the room where autopsies are performed, the room where bodies are stored during their stay at the morgue, and how to fingerprint a body. He let me fingerprint one body after he showed me how to do it. After that we went back to the office and he showed me how he did some paperwork. Around 4:15 Gary got a call saying a man had been found dead by a mailman so he took me with him to respond to that call.

The man had been found upstairs in his bedroom. Based on the situation and what EMS found (they had been first to arrive after the mailman found the man), it looks like the man died from cardiac arrest. He had a history of heart problems and had fallen the previous week, but refused care and treatment from EMS that time. Gary showed me how they process a scene- taking pictures, determining the identity of the deceased, moving the body, etc. We had to call in the fire team to move the body because the man weighed almost 400 pounds and there was no way me, Gary, and one policeman could have moved him down the stairs. After the body was taken away, we left the apartment for his family to go through. After that we went to the hospital to register the man in the morgue and went back to the office and did paperwork for a little while before I left.

The rest of the week was uneventful. I went back to the office every day after school, but no calls came in while I was there. The time the most calls come in is during the night, and obviously I cannot stay at the office 24/7. I did spend most of my time with Gary since he was on call, so if he did get a call, I would be there to go with him. We mostly did paperwork (the amount of forms required when someone dies is a bit ridiculous, and when the deceased is a minor the paperwork basically doubles) and took a few trips to the morgue to give them paperwork and take a family to see their loved one before an autopsy. On Friday we thought we might get a call because a woman was shot at a convenience store, but she was stabilized so we didn’t have to respond to that. Other than that, I have officially been appointed the paper fetcher of the office because the printer that everyone uses is down the hall. It’s perfectly okay though because I pass the candy jar on most of my trips around the office.

And that was my first week in a nutshell. I have definitely learned a ton and can’t wait to go back for another week. Gary promised to take me to see evidence in storage on Monday and I will be with Teri since she is on call this next week.

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