Ask a mortician
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01-02-2014, 08:38 PM
RE: Ask a mortician
(31-01-2014 06:02 PM)cjlr Wrote:  
(31-01-2014 05:57 PM)Invisible Boy Wrote:  I'm not going to complain about anyone's answer. Maybe some people don't find this issue interesting. Honestly, I can't say that I blame them. But whats wrong with discussing the matter a little bit further? To be fair, since continuing the discussion at length would get tedious, my last question to the mortician in this thread will, indeed, be my last question about this matter. I'll ask no others afterwards (and I do apologize if it seems I've wasted too much time thus far).

If you got answered it means that someone didn't think it was a waste of time. And anyone who does can just, y'know, not read.

It's impossible for an examined and treated body to be alive. It would take a hell of a lot of incompetence and/or negligence along the way...

Yes and no... I'm assuming by "examined" you mean autopsied, and very few people are autopsied. The formaldehyde would do it, though.

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who has said it- not even if I have said it- unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. - Buddha
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01-02-2014, 08:42 PM
RE: Ask a mortician
(31-01-2014 06:26 PM)Anjele Wrote:  Perhaps this is more of a physician question, but I was wondering if I can still be considered a donor. I am a breast cancer survivor. I did not do any chemo or radiation and am at the 4+ year mark of being cancer free after mastectomies. Would I still be considered an acceptable donor?

Reading this thread kind of brought to mind that I have been a donor for so long that it didn't occur to me to ask that question.

Congrats on the continued clean bill of health!

Chances are good that that some of your tissues would still be suitable for donations. I mean, someone who is dead obviously had some sort of health issue so they're used to working around that. They won't take diseased tissues but breast cancer wouldn't affect anything that would be useful for donation anyhow. There is still skin tissue, bone barrow, organs and other things that are perfectly viable and could save a life.

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who has said it- not even if I have said it- unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. - Buddha
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01-02-2014, 08:45 PM
RE: Ask a mortician
Do you think we'll ever achieve world peace?




I keed. Tongue Seriously though (and forgive me if this has already been asked), how accurate are dead bodies in movies? Like when the protagonist is in the morgue looking at the greenish-gray body half-covered in a sheet with bruising around the eyes. Is that a realistic color scheme?

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01-02-2014, 08:45 PM
RE: Ask a mortician
(01-02-2014 11:34 AM)Marozz Wrote:  Hi, have you ever come across any pranks? We had a case here a while back were a golf ball was found lodged in the mouth of a mans body. According to the coroners court it was inserted between post mortem and embalmment. Very upsetting for the family and had people wondering if pranks happen more often and just go unnoticed.
http://www.irishcentral.com/news/dead-ma...74101.html

Can't say I've encountered anything like that, though I did have a young man's girlfriend give me a bottle of KY lube to put in his casket with him.

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who has said it- not even if I have said it- unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. - Buddha
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01-02-2014, 08:49 PM
RE: Ask a mortician
(01-02-2014 08:38 PM)Ohio Sky Wrote:  Yes and no... I'm assuming by "examined" you mean autopsied, and very few people are autopsied. The formaldehyde would do it, though.

I didn't mean autopsied per se, since, indeed, most people aren't.

But I had figured (not knowing the specifics) that there were probably any number of reasons it's not a viable scenario. Starting from the premise that a false positive is really not the goal of anyone along the line... Tongue

Being declared dead under modern conditions is pretty foolproof to begin with, and the ensuing procedures aren't quite what I'd call gentle. Refrigeration, say - if the internal temperature drops even to room temperature you are dead.
(not, of course, that you wouldn't be anyway Big Grin )

To say nothing of the chemical procedures. Your answers were quite interesting!

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01-02-2014, 09:17 PM
RE: Ask a mortician
(01-02-2014 07:06 PM)Luminon Wrote:  
(31-01-2014 05:12 PM)Ohio Sky Wrote:  First, I have to say that I find your views on funerals and the dead to be a little disrespectful.
The days of people wanting a full funeral just because it's traditional for their religion are fast disappearing. People want viewings because in many cases, it's the only chance they will get to say goodbye to someone who means a lot to them. People who pass away suddenly, like in auto accidents, are among the most likely to be embalmed and viewed. Why? Because seeing the person helps give people closure. If you lost a young child in an unexpected accident, would ypu want a chance to say goodbye? Many people benefot from this and it's a part of the healing process. To write is off as 'morbid' is insulting and incredibly mean spirited.
Secondly, if the Mercury in your fillings hasn't affected your health yet, what makes you think it's going to be substantial enough to cause any issues after you are dead and gone? The amount of heavy metals in the human body is negligible and inconsequential. As far as viruses and such go, this is the primary reason for embalming. Formaldehyde kills pretty much everything under the sun.
Thirdly, in most areas of the US, you must be buried in a sealed casket and/or a vault. The odds of any tape worm eggs surviving long enough for the concrete around you to degrade is pretty slim.
There's really no difference between us and the rest of the animal kingdom, and everyone has buried a family pet in their backyard without causing widespread disease or zombie apocalypse or anything. Your view of death as icky and scary has no rational basis.

As far as your question though, there is currently no widely available method for final disposition aside from the traditional burial or cremation. I've seen something similar to wwhat you described, though I'm not sure if it's exactly thr same. But I've never actually encountered a funeral home that offered it. The technology is far more expensive than a standard crematorium, so it could be a while still before we see this sort of thing in use regularly.
Well, my aching heart might be a bit non-sentimental. As a boy, I had read the books about Tibet by Lobsang Rampa (pseudonym of a British author, I know) and you know how they used to dispose of the bodies there - chop them up, crush the bones and skull, offer it all to vultures. It didn't bother me back then and it doesn't bother me now. Yes, it's messy. But it is much less messy that to put the body into the ground, encapsulated in clothes, wooden casket and concrete tomb.

For me, the body is something like a car. A car is equipment and our cars get crushed at a scrap yard and recycled. Recycling is good. If we believe that consciousness is the process, what we love is the process, not the substance. We can not hold onto the process.

= I am messed up and nobody important died on me yet.
And that's the bottom line. Your views may not change when and if you do lose someone close to you, but going through it yourself is always an eye opener. Even if your views never change, I would work on being a little more compassionate towards others who don't share them. I have some pretty negative views of religion in general, but one thing I would never even dream of doing is thinking negatively of someone for doing anything and everything they can to get through a tough time. If praying helps them, why take that away? If seeing their loved one look at rest instead of lying in a hospital bed with tubes coming out of every orifice and their mouth wide open as they last saw them, then that's what they need. If they want to bring a mariachi band to the funeral and annoy everyone within a 1/2 mile radius and pray the rosary 56 times, well then I'll complain about the mariachi but it's their funeral. Everyone gets through grief in their own way.

(01-02-2014 07:06 PM)Luminon Wrote:  
(01-02-2014 06:25 PM)Dark Light Wrote:  All that shit exists in nature; every chemical, every parasite, every toxin, every metal. You are very small in the big scheme of things; utterly insignificant. All of the things that you perceive of as being 'bad for nature' is part of it, and all of those things are present in millions of other living things that die every day. The materials that compose us all is recycled, regardless of how you go out.
Not necessarily me. But what about the humanity? What if a world-wide law prohibited dumping bodies into the ground, instead filtering them chemically... would that cause a decrease in disease occurrence in several centuries? There are 7 billions of us today, that's a lot of viruses. Nevermind nature, what about what WE want to have in our environment? Is burial really an intelligent, scientific way to behave? Surely there are better ways to honor the living relatives' feelings than by contaminating the air, soil and waters. I'd rather be honored by a hi-tech ecological body disposal method than undergo a long and undignified process of letting go of the soft tissue.

Burial is not an intelligent, scientific behavior for many reasons, but you haven't hit on any of them. I've never heard of any disease being spread from someone after they are buried. The risk is in handling any remains with an infectious disease, which has to be done by someone regardless of whether you are going to bury, cremate, or any other option that may arise. These diseases are mostly eliminated by embalming, though, with the only exception I know of being tuberculosis. And all diseases have a life span. They will eventually die without a living host, not just live in the ground forever until some future society starts digging up the remnants of our culture to study us.

I'm in favor of exploring alternatives, though. I once saw a pamphlet for a chemical process as you've mentioned that stated that every year in the US, enough metal is put in the ground in caskets to build the golden gate bridge. That doesn't seem efficient or sustainable at all, and eventually we will run into issues with it. We've already seen the affects of metropolitan sprawl conflicting with the large amount of land needed for cemeteries in San Francisco and Colma, where every cemetery in SF was moved to Colma. I can't even imagine the kind of man power that must have involved.
There are issues with any type of disposition though. The chemicals used for that process would have to be quite hazardous, and following current trends, I'm sure they would make it illegal to use the solution on more than one remains. That's a lot of very caustic chemical to dispose of.

(01-02-2014 08:45 PM)Misanthropik Wrote:  Do you think we'll ever achieve world peace?




I keed. Tongue Seriously though (and forgive me if this has already been asked), how accurate are dead bodies in movies? Like when the protagonist is in the morgue looking at the greenish-gray body half-covered in a sheet with bruising around the eyes. Is that a realistic color scheme?

Not very. Rolleyes
I don't watch a lot of TV, so I can't speak for all shows, but I've never seen any show or movie that did a decent job of even depicting what blood looks like, let alone an entire dead body.

If you're interested, there is a photo project an acquaintance of mine has posted at humanminuslife.com. Her reasons are a little unusual but she explains them better than I can so I'll leave it up to you to check that out on her site. She hired a photographer and makeup artist who is apparently familiar with death and basically had them paint her up and take pictures as if she was a decaying victim of some horrible crime. They're the most realistic portrayal of decay I've ever seen. A bit morbid, even for me, but as I said she explains her motivation well.

Edit to add: This should go without saying, but the above linked site has some pretty graphic pictures even though they don't show any *actual* dead bodies.

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who has said it- not even if I have said it- unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. - Buddha
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