Fiancee of Thanatos
Joined: Aug. 2009
|Posted: Feb. 03 2011,3:07 am
[quote=Leilah,Feb. 02 2011,7:50am]
Personally, I am NOT a fan of the autopsy process. It is often OVER USED. I can't tell you how many times an autopsy would be ordered on a case where the cause of death was obvious, like a bullet through the brain, or someone who has jumped to their death, etc. [end quote]
I'm humbled and impressed by your experience, Leilah; in this field, I can't speak from direct experience, only research. Like Morgan and Russalka, I'm interested in your stories! And I certainly share your horror at the lack of reverence going on in so many procedures. I have something to say about that at the end of this post. But first, I feel like sharing a few more of my reasons for thinking the way I do; if we disagree, that's only natural, since no two thinkers can agree all the time. I hope the data is interesting, at least, for Forum readers.
One of the important points made in the Frontline program is that (and you may already be aware of this, from your experience), while a cause of death may be obvious, it takes an expert, and often an autopsy, to discover crucial details and contributing factors. I quote Dr. Fierro, the woman who so movingly describes how she talks to the dead, asking them to tell their stories:
"It doesn't take a great medical mind to figure out someone's got his head blown off by a shotgun. But it does take special expertise to tell the distance. Is his arm long enough to do it? Is there any other activity with his body that would have predisposed him to depression? Does he have marks of defense? That's pretty sophisticated stuff."
Also (and again, this may be something you know), the technical "cause of death" may be "secondary to" something else, and that may be vital to know. In my "Autopsy" video, "The Dark Side of Medicine," a 61-year-old man's dementia was secondary to heart problems (if I recall correctly); and -- especially important -- a 35-year-old woman's children needed to know if her heart defect was a hereditary type. It was, which meant they needed testing to help insure they wouldn't die as tragically young as she did.
(Also, if I recall correctly, the infamous Dr. Mengele technically died by drowning -- but because he'd suffered a stroke while wading in the shallow water on a beach. He fell into the water, and by the time people got to him and pulled him out, he couldn't be revived.)
In addition, there may be questions related only indirectly, if at all, to the cause of death which could well be worth answering. In my own case, after I'm gone, my family might want an autopsy to find out -- if it's possible -- the causes of my abdominal pain. An autopsy might yield no more answers than the sonograms and abdominal CAT scan I've already undergone. The verdict might still be, "Mysterious neuropathic (or 'phantom') pain." But then, an autopsy might show something that couldn't have been found except by intense exploratory surgery, which is a risk I can't take while alive, since it would probably cause increased pain due to further nerve damage.
If there are any mysteries about my medical condition that my family wants to try to solve, I would want them to have every opportunity. (I'm not too concerned about looking pretty at my funeral, since I hope to be placed on an elevated platform and fed to vultures in a special vulture sanctuary, in a Nature preserve whose owner I know! More on that in future posts, if people are interested.)
I'm sure, of course, that there are some unnecessary autopsies being done, just as there are unnecessary procedures in every area of medicine (and other areas of life). But personally, I'm convinced by the data saying that there aren't enough of them being done -- or at least, not enough good ones!
When the question is "homicide, suicide, or accident?" killers can walk free, or innocent people can be charged and often convicted, even when the technical "cause of death" is obvious.
What we need, IMO, is a lot more reverence in the whole scene. Reverence, no doubt, would make the procedures more efficient as well as respectful. That's one thing I love about the "Autopsy" video: with its peaceful music, suggestive of the heavenly spheres, it gives a sense of "as above, so below": that even in a procedure as "mundane" as an autopsy, there can be awareness of a spiritual dimension.
Edited by April on Feb. 03 2011,3:12 am
"Death is the mother of beauty." -- Proverb