When the new Medical Examiner facility was built, a design concept of a centralized morgue separated from other activities of the facility was utilized. The work area was developed to promote an easy flow of activity. Instead of a single exam room or a fixed exam table, the area was built utilizing nine fixed, wall-mounted stations to which bodies could be transported via portable gurneys. The gurneys are designed to serve as the body transportation table, holding tray and exam table. Using this type of equipment reduces unnecessary movement of the body, thus diminishing the possibility of employee injury. Additionally, the morgue contains separate morgue suites to accommodate major and biohazardous cases.
All bodies brought to the morgue are received in an area designed to maintain the utmost privacy during transfer. Individual bodies are entered into the office computer system, assigned a unique case number and fitted with identification tags bearing the case number and decedent's name. Three refrigeration units are designated to hold incoming, completed and decomposed infectious cases separately as a safeguard to prevent a body from being released prior to examination. Once an examination is complete, the body is released to the family's designated funeral home.
The autopsy examination is accomplished through the teamwork of the Forensic Pathologist and a team of Forensic Autopsy Technicians. Forensic Autopsy Technicians assist the pathologist with evisceration, photography, radiographic exams, measurements, procurement of biological samples, evidence packaging and documentation, and release of examined bodies to funeral homes, among other responsibilities. Technicians are tasked also with keeping the morgue areas clean and stocked with adequate supplies.
A fully equipped forensic photography laboratory was added to the Medical Examiner's Office in 1994. By 2005 the laboratory had replaced all film processing with digital photography. In addition to more traditional photography methodologies, the lab is capable of making photographs utilizing ultraviolet and infrared techniques. Image enhancement can also be performed.
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