February 29-March 4

Not much of anything happened on Monday except spontaneous planning. I got out of class early because it was a test day, so I got to the office early enough to eat lunch. During lunch, Mike told Gary that Parks wanted him and Teri to go to Columbia for the Coroner’s Association meeting. Later when Gary and I were in his office, Mike walked by and said that I should go with them and I said yes of course. Gary was second out this week and Sonny was first out but no calls came in on Monday, so I wasn’t doing much except for homework.

Tuesday was a lot more interesting. Gary picked Teri and I up in the morning because there was no point in all of us driving to the office at the crack of dawn just to get in one car and go to Columbia. We got there around 10 and the meeting started a few minutes after that. Everyone introduced themselves and then the next hour was arson training by Craig Collier, a SLED (South Carolina Law Enforcement Division) employee. He went over the responsibilities of the coroner in the event of a fire fatality. After that, there was an approval of minutes and some reports were given. One of the coroners went over new and old business, then the meeting was adjourned. The three of us went to a special law enforcement store after that, then went and stuffed our faces at Fatz. After that, we drove back home and got to the office around 3:30. There was nothing to do after that, so we just goofed around until 4:30 and Gary dropped Teri and I off.

The rest of the week was uneventful. One call did come in on Thursday, but it came in around 4, it was raining, and the death was a natural, so I decided not to go along. The decedent lived in a mobile home, so it would have been all cramped and uncomfortable anyway, and I didn’t want to be a nuisance with two paramedic teams, family members, two deputy coroners, and then an intern all trying to stuff themselves into a mobile home. That would not be a great situation for anyone, and then after all that was over, I would have had to be taken 30 minutes back to the office to get my car and drive home. It was in everyone’s best interest for me to just goof off at the office for another 30 minutes. Friday was much the same – we ordered Domino’s and messed around all afternoon, but no other calls came in while I was there. Teri had me put together the packets she uses when she goes on call, which consist of a coroner report, fingerprinting papers, a family assistance guide, her business cards, gloves, and blood spot papers. I put together about fifteen of those, then she put me to work cutting up blood spot forms and putting them in envelopes. It is extremely important not to get anyone’s DNA on those so the sample is not contaminated, so I had to wear gloves to cut those up. I also cut up about 50 fingerprinting sheets that are used in the morgue when the coroner takes fingerprints. The forms have to be cut into strips for the decedent to be fingerprinted properly, and it just makes the whole process easier. The picture below was my view for about an hour while I put all the packets together and cut up the blood spot and fingerprinting sheets.


Other than that, the most exciting thing that happened was that Gary was very animatedly telling me about his high school track coach and accidentally knocked a full cup of coffee right over the edge of his desk. So then I had to run like a maniac through the office to get paper towels and I was laughing so hard I had tears running down my face.

Teri is first out this next week, and Gary is in Columbia all week for coroner school. I am taking a prearranged absence day from school on Monday and will be with Teri all day. Hopefully I will be able to see some autopsies in the morning and be able to go on a call or two, since it seems they mostly happen in the morning.

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