WEEK SIX: More Learning!

Yajaira G -

Hi Peeps!

     This week I went to the office on Monday, March 18th. There were four cases for the day: two external and two full exams. I found this to be fascinating. I was able to learn how to close the body cavity and did it myself. This was very interesting, I struggled a bit because it was my first time, but I did it! I have had plenty of hands-on experiences, such as closing both the head and body cavity, taking samples such as femoral, subclavian, and cardiac blood as well as vitreous, taking fingerprints, and stripping the dura mater. All of these have been fascinating to do. 

     This week I attended a webinar that talked about forensic pathology electrocution. I learned about the differences in voltages. If there is a high voltage (>1000 volts), it does not require direct contact, and there may be visible burns. In low voltage (<1000 volts), there has to be direct contact, and one-third to one-half will have no burns. I also learned the three elements that are needed for electrocution, which are: a charged source, a current pathway through the person, and a ground. There are three mechanisms of death due to electrocution: heart arrhythmia, where a current disrupts the function of the heart; the brain, where an electric current can cause a disruption of brain control; and muscle, where if the person remains in contact with the electrical source, the muscles will contract, which can cause them to be unable to breathe, which can end up as an asphyxial death. Finally, lightning strikes. One of the findings in lightning strike cases is ferning, also referred to as Lichtenberg Figures, which is not a burn and typically disappears in 12 hours. Lichtenberg figures are branching electric discharges that appear on a person. A few things that I found interesting were that the one thing that can mimic Lichtenberg figures is marbling, which happens during decomposition, and how a person will remain conscious for several seconds after the “shock.”

These are just a few things I learned this week, tune in next week for more!

Thanks for reading!!


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    That sounds so interesting! I just have one question. If both voltages can lead to visible burns is there a way to tell the difference?
    What do you mean by "struggled"? Were you nervous or did you physically have a hard time with closing the body cavity?
    Hi Yajaira! Woah I cannot believe you closed a body cavity by yourself, I am truly amazed. It also sounds like the Webinar was very interesting! I cannot wait to hear about what other experiences you will have! :)
    Toby Chang
    Who hosted the webinar that you mentioned, and are they open to public registration? I'd love to learn more about that!
    Yajaira Garcia
    Hi Sofia! I just struggled with getting used to tying it together. For example, I would forget to knot it twice causing it to untie again, but I overcame that struggle pretty quickly.
    Yajaira Garcia
    Hi Toby! The webinar is hosted by The National Association of Medical Examiner's. It can be found on their website. The webinars are targeted towards medical students.

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