Re: Embalming

From:Vinnie Della Speranza

Mike, do you know why the practice was abandoned and also what facility are you at? I'm guessing medical college of georgia but I may be wrong.
Vinnie Della Speranza
Manager for Anatomic Pathology Services
Medical University of South Carolina
165 Ashley Avenue  Suite 309
Charleston, SC 29425
Ph: 843-792-6353
fax: 843-792-8974

>>> Mike Delorenzo <> 10/16/02 12:46PM >>>
I have been working in Mohs surgery for the past year and a half but before that I worked in the pathology lab doing autopsies. In the twenty four years I worked there we embalmed every body at the time of autopsy. Infectious cases were embalmed the day before and allowed to sit overnight. We are a teaching institution and embalming allowed us to do more extensive dissections. E.G. leg vein harvesting in cases of pulmonary embolus. Having an embalmer/diener on staff allowed us to do things like take the eyes and at the time of autopsy the embalmer could restore the body to better than its pre autopsy state. We could do extensive neck dissection and also intracranial dissection, such as the internal carotids (post embalming)
After the autopsy the bodies were closed and all but ready for the funeral ( lacking hair, make-up and clothing), this fact endeared us to the funeral homes and actually they encouraged families to allow for autopsy consent. The fact that the embalming was provided at no charge to the family or funeral home was a plus as well. 
This greatly increased our autopsy rate. Being a medical school with the med students participating in the autopsy program to better study the disease proccess. (yeah you can learn it in a book, but seeing it in person and handling the organs is a great learnig tool). The organs are saved and used in the pathology portion of the med school course. (catagorized by disease process) 
Unfortunately this practice recently has been halted, all but the infectious case aspect.    

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