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Autopsy Assistant

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Clipse, Aug 8, 2002.

  1. Clipse

    Clipse Member 10+ Year Member

    Aug 7, 2002
    Has anyone ever had the experience of being a diener (an individual who acts as an autopsy assistant to pathologists)? If so what was it like and how did you attain such a position?
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  3. Clipse

    Clipse Member 10+ Year Member

    Aug 7, 2002
  4. relatively prime

    relatively prime post happy member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 28, 2002
    I was an assistant to the diener once... does that count?

    It was a great experience... nice pre-view to anatomy. If nothing else you can get used to the smell of formaldehyde.
  5. SunnyBunny7

    SunnyBunny7 the newest St. Lunatic 7+ Year Member

    I'd like to know too. If anyone's had any experience. I've tried (though not very hard) to find a place but haven't had any luck. It's not like ME Offices will just say, "sure, come on in!"


    btw clipse, just curious as to why you're asking. I'm interested in going into forensic pathology, that's why I'm asking.

  6. dr. maybe

    dr. maybe mongoose 10+ Year Member

    Jan 30, 2002
    Although I have never assisted in an autopsy, I have been present for quite a few as my previous job required me to work inside a medical examiner's office. I worked for a tissue bank and our recovery suite was connected to the medical examiner's office. Autopsies are thoroughly interesting. If anyone has any specific questions, please feel free to ask.
  7. jori

    jori Junior Member

    May 9, 2002
    I am actually doing an internship this summer with a medical examiner's office. I get to help with autopsies and external examinations. I am pretty sure that I want to become a forensic pathologist. So if any one has specific questions, I have learned a lot over the summer so I will probably be able to answer it or find out.
  8. Clipse

    Clipse Member 10+ Year Member

    Aug 7, 2002
    Sunnybunny7, I too am interested in forensic pathology. I just thought I'd be a highly unique and educational "hands-on" experience. I've heard that most training is on the job as well, which is nice. Jori, is it common for medical examiner's offices to have internships? How often does and autopsy occur? How are the pathologists that you work with? Any further info. about your job would be much appreciated.:cool:
  9. lady bug

    lady bug 7+ Year Member

    Jan 3, 2002
    I've helped with a few autopsies. They were very interesting....although the smell was just out of this world. I almost fainted a few times just because of the smell. But the homocide cases were really case had come in as a suicide and ended up being a homicide because of the strangling evidence we found in the interior neck. It was good experience....though I liked my dissection class at school with cadavers better...the smell was less strong.
  10. SunnyBunny7

    SunnyBunny7 the newest St. Lunatic 7+ Year Member

    Does anyone have any helpful tips on how to assist on autopsies or do any kind of work relating to that? Or even how I could just observe the procedure. It doesn't have to be a paying job or anything, just as long as I could observe. I'm interesed in forensic pathology so I would like to have some kind of experience before I get into medical school, if that's possible at all.

    I'm currently and undergrad, I'll be a full time student this coming fall, and I'm planning to graduate next year and then hopefully attend med school in the fall of 2003. So my time is limited. And I don't have any previous experience in this kind of thing.

    If anyone has any ideas I'd really appreciate it. Thanks!
  11. jori

    jori Junior Member

    May 9, 2002
    For those of you who are interested in observing or assissting on autopsies I would suggest that you go to the volunteer or career office at your school. Let them know you are interested and have them fax your info to the local me's office. Otherwise just call the me's office up and tell them. It is more than likely that they would love to have you. An me's office is always full of extra work that could be done by student volunteers. And in return for you helping them you can help out with autopsies and maybe go and observe a scene. I am doing an internship in a smaller county so the autopsies arent as frequent as a larger city but I have seen my fair share of autopies this summer. It has been about 1-2 per week but sometimes it was 4-6. It has been an excellent experience and a great review of anatomy. There is one forensic pathologist working there. She is just the nicest person. She is completely down to earth and treats everyone just wonderful. She calls all the students doctor. It is really cool to work with her. She explains everything she does in a way that we all understand. She lets us help as well. I have taken blood, vitreous and cut the aorta. I also assist on settin up and doing the external examination. I love working with her. If you guys have any more questions I would be more than happy to answer them.
  12. SunnyBunny7

    SunnyBunny7 the newest St. Lunatic 7+ Year Member

    To bring this subject back up again . . . do you have to have any kind of special training or something beforehand? Will they just let in anybody off the street? I talked to a pathologist at my county ME's Office and they said they don't let people observe. For legal reasons or whatever. Which I figured. Since they are investigating crimes and everything. Is it different for different states/counties/cities?
  13. SunnyBunny7

    SunnyBunny7 the newest St. Lunatic 7+ Year Member

  14. Smurfette

    Smurfette Antagonized by Azrael Administrator Physician 10+ Year Member

    Jun 6, 2001
    At UWisc, they won't let anyone but a forensic pathologist and his asistants do any autopsies that may lead to a criminal case...this is b/c anyone present at the autopsy could be called to testify, and if the witness is not an expert it may hurt the case.

    However, med students, etc. can ask to watch non-forensic autopsies (which is unfortunate since the forensic ones are the most interesting). I think you have to have a legitimate reason in observing one though (med student, nurse, paramedic, etc. is my guess)---so Joe Schmoe can't just wander in off the street and get to watch an autopsy.
  15. silver_eyes

    silver_eyes Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Aug 30, 2001
    u in the 6 year bs/md program? where are u ging? i got into the ucla 7year program, but rejected my offer.
  16. theshinning

    theshinning Junior Member

    Jun 16, 2002

    I had the opportunity to intern at the local ME's office, which i obtained from my school's Anthropology department -- they had an arrangement with the medical examiner in which anthro majors could intern for a semester. I wasn't exactly an assistant... I observed autopsies, but my main job was processing cadavers (taking inventory of injuries/possessions/other items present at time of death) and answering phones. Occasionally I got to help the investigators clean off bones for identification.

    Try contacting the the medical examiner in your county if they will allow you to intern, but if your school has either a physical anthropology department or a forensic pathology department, definitely contact the dept. advisor for any programs they may have. Good luck!

    ps The pathologist's assistant i worked with told me never to say "diener." It means "slave" in German. :(
  17. try talking to the patho dept at a med school nearby wher eu live.
  18. Doctor Wyldstyle

    Doctor Wyldstyle Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Mar 22, 2001
    For Los Angeles area students, you can complete an internship with the Los Angeles County Coroner. However, when I was an undergraduate it was only open to USC and Loyola Marymount University students. Great experience where you weigh organs, assist the path doc, and do some nasty dirt work like load bodies in the fridge or sew them back up. Overall, its pretty comprehensive and you won't understand alot of things until medical school, but will be familiar. :)

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