My First Post Mortem

This was my first visit to a mortuary as well as my first Post Mortem. I followed CSI Girl down the corridor, which was very similar to a hospital corridor. We found a room labelled "POLICE BRIEFING ROOM." Inside was a Detective Sergeant and Detective Constable from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and 'Dr Scrubs' the Pathologist. CID were in attendance because the deceased person had died shortly after being beaten up badly in his own home. The deceased male had spent a week in hospital before he passed away.

The briefing was necessary for Dr Scrubs to understand the circumstances surrounding the deceased male's death. We had a maxpac coffee whilst the Dr read the thick wedge of notes on the deceased male. This took about fifteen minutes.

Luckily CSI Girl had told me that I would have to go into the changing rooms and change into scrubs after the briefing so I knew that bit was next.

I walked into the changing rooms. They looked like a leisure centre changing room, a couple of cubicles with toilets and a shower. There was a large cabinet against one wall full of light and dark blue scrubs. I took a pair of trousers and a top. I undressed and put all my clothes in a locker. I put the scrubs on, luckily there was a pull cord on the waist of the trousers as they didn't quite fit.

As I was in the male changing room I was accompanied by the Detective and the Doctor. Once we were all changed, we walked through to the next room. It was small, along one wall was a rack full of wellington boots. Some were stood in a solution and some were hung on the racking. I took a pair of size tens off the rack and put them on.

CSI Girl and the Detective Sergeant came through another door and booted up. We all went into the examination room.

The room wasn't as big as I was expecting. I could see a sealed 'body bag' on a trolley in the corner by the fridges. There was a table in the middle of the room with a contraption above it, which looked like an assortment of lights.

The Doctor pulled the trolley closer to the table in the middle of the room. I took a step backwards. He read the seal number on the bag out loud and it was recorded.

The bag was unzipped and opened. The male lay inside the bag. He looked pale. He had an assortment of bruises all over his torso but he looked clean.

The trolley was pushed alongside the table so it was parallel and touching. The Dr and the technician lifted the male out of the bag by his arms and legs onto the examination table. The male wasn't slim. As they lifted him, they let out a gentle grunt.

The technician looked as if he worked in a Mortuary. He was tall, frail looking, he must have been in his early fifties, had long grey hair and was missing a tooth, exposing his upper gum about three teeth in.

The Doctor began with a visual exterior examination. The most obvious injuries were the bruises. The Pathologist examined each part of the body in turn and dictated notes, which the Detective recorded. As the Doctor said something, he would often repeat it, "There is reddening, there is reddening"

The Doctor used a scalpel and cut into some of the bruises, this allowed him to interpret the damage. On the left forearm he cut the complete length and all the way down to the bone. I could hear the blade scraping n the bone. He did this front and back.

Once the exterior examination was done, it was time for the bit I was expecting but wasn't looking forward to. The Doctor began to cut open parts of the male's body.

He started with the back. It was surprising how easy the body could be opened up with such a small scalpel. The incision was an upside down Y.

The body didn't bleed when it was cut, when the heart doesn't beat there is no blood pressure.

The room smelt like a butchers. It wasn't a particularly unpleasant smell.

The skin was lined with fat on the inside, it was a strange yellow colour and textured.

Once the back was done, the technician used a rather large needle and thread and stitched the back up again. I was impressed by the speed in which this was done.

The Doctor and technician then turned the male's body over on his back.

The front of the body was cut open and you could clearly see the ribs. The Doctor cut a section out of the ribs in the middle and placed it on the table. You could then see most of the internal organs. It's interesting to see how all of the organs are organised into such a small space.

There was a large amount of straw coloured fluid in and around the body and it's organs. This fluid was scooped out with a ladle into a few jugs and measured.

Each of the organs was cut out and put into a large bowl. It looked like a plastic mixing bowl. When this was done, the body lay there with just the ribs exposed. Each rib had been cut between.

The Technician dragged a machine close to the table and plugged it in the wall. It looked like a hoover. It was an electrical cutting blade with a suction tube attached to it.

The technician used a razor and took the male's hair off around the back of his head. He then used a scalpel and cut around the back of the male's head. The skin was then folded up and forward, it came down over his face. This exposed the skull.

I then realised what the machine was for.

It started up and sounded like a drill. The technician used it to cut away a section at the rear of the skull. The section that was cut was persuaded off with a T shaped chisel. The attached tube sucked the dust away. It stank. It smelt of burning.

I walked to the head end of the table and I could see the brain, inside the skull. It looked just like I expected it to, even though I hadn't seen one before. It was cut and removed. It was then weighed and put into a tub and sealed.

The Doctor then took the bowl of organs to the sink. He washed each under a running tap. I wonder where the waste waters ends up?

"The Liver is enlarged, the Liver is enlarged"

He conducted a visual examination of each organ, dictating his thoughts to the Detective. He weighed each organ and this was recorded also.

Each had a section cut away and this was put into a separate tub. This was for histology reports. The tissues would be examined and studied in detail.

The male was an alcoholic and this had an adverse effect on his organs. The damage was clearly visible.

Once the Doctor had completed this we left the room. I asked CSI girl what would happen to the body and she explained that the organs would be returned to the body, in a plastic bag and the male would be sewn back up. The male would stay at the Mortuary for a period of time, so that a second Post Mortem could be conducted if required.

We left via the wellington boot room, I took my boots off and put them in the solution. I removed my gloves and put them in the yellow clinical waste bin, using the pedal to open it. We unchanged and put our clothes back on.

We all met back in the briefing room where the Doctor told the Detective Sergeant what his thoughts were.

This whole process took about four hours. We went back to the office completed some paperwork before finished duty for the day.

Although anxious at what I might feel and think during the Post Mortem, I found it really interesting. I am now prepared for the next one, whenever that may be.


  1. It sounds incredible- i don't think i could handle that. great blog.

  2. great post- its not all like you see on the TV!! Learnt a lot in this post. Good work : )