As the weather cools, the pumpkins and skeletons emerge from their storage boxes, death becomes a regular topic of discussion. But we wanted to learn more about the real nitty-gritty. We talked to one of our in-house doctors, Ben Stueben about his experience performing autopsies. Can you relate to his experiences? Share yours below.
How many autopsies have you performed?
Around 50 or so I believe.
How much can you learn from a person’s lifestyle in their autopsy?
You notice a lot during the gross examination with abnormal appearances and weights of various organs. More information becomes available after the histologic examination of the various organs under the microscope.
How much time between the time of death and an autopsy is ideal? Can you wait too long?
As soon as possible is really what you want to go for, really. You kind of have to go along with the set of circumstances you are provided with though.
What’s the most shocking thing you’ve ever seen?
There was a dead baby which was never picked up by the mother and had been in the hospital morgue for 27 years or so. Everyone just pretends that it is not in one of the coolers.
What was your most memorable case?
The first autopsy was the most memorable. I began doing them in medical school and it was a female my age who had intracerebral bleeding as a result of cocaine. She seemed to have her whole life ahead of her.
Were there any cases that were emotionally difficult?
All the pediatric autopsies were very hard for me to go through.