Ask a mortician
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31-01-2014, 04:41 PM
RE: Ask a mortician
(31-01-2014 04:24 PM)Ohio Sky Wrote:  Wow! There's a lot of new questions here so I'll try to get to them as quickly as I can.

(29-01-2014 10:37 PM)Invisible Boy Wrote:  Well, I guess I'm a bit late to the party but here it goes:

I have a thread in the pseudociences & conspiracies section of this board regarding an alleged miracle in which a human being, in modern times, was supposedly raised back to life, over 48 hours *after* being declared clinically dead. This event happened in Nigeria. There are a lot of details about it; I had to do quite a bit of searching around the internet for them. I could eventually find all the sources and list them, but for brevity's sake I'll list the two that really stand out:

First, the mortician supposedly injected about half a dozen syringes full of embalming fluid into this guy's presumably dead body *before* attempting a full embalming. I don't understand what good that would do. One webpage said it was in the hands & feet, to prevent curling of his fingers & toes. Another mentions to "slow "decomposition". In any case, is that order of embalming fluid injections--a substantial amount of them, with a syringe, *then* a full embalming later--regularly done, in developing nations or elsewhere?

Second, some supernatural-phenomenon was suspected of being caused by the corpse, including receiving electric "shocks" when attempting to touch it & and actually perform the full embalming, and later on hearing choir-like singing from the room it was in. Allegedly, the mortician got freaked out by this and told the family of the dead man to come take the corpse away. They did, placed it in a coffin & put cotton balls in the 'dead' man's nostrils. A day later, in church, with many people praying, the man supposedly was resurrected. Could very shallow breathing allow somebody to survive, even with cotton in their ears & being in a coffin?

I appreciate any help given.

I call bullshit. On all of it. It's theoretically possible for someone to be in a catatonic state- near death, with shallow breathing, and be mistakenly pronounced dead. It's happened all over the world, though wirh current technologu in any developed nation it's all but unheard of.
However, embalming fluid is toxic. Very toxic. Even breathing the fumes is quite hazardous. If more than a few drops entered the blood stream, it would undoubtedly kill the person. There's no way the embalming process had begun already, then the person somehow came back to life.
Methods vary wildly throughout the world, but I've never heard of anyone using a syringe to inject preservatives before starting the full process. I don't see any reason that would be done. Usually a syringe is used after the embalming to put a lottle more chemical in areas that may not have gotten well preserved.

I see what your saying. A 'pre-embalming' injection in an actual dead body, *before* a full embalming, is of course quite absurd, since it would do little to slow decay. The fluid would just stagnate around the injected area. But what about the other possibility - that it was done in the hands & feet to prevent them from curling? Perhaps because to wait until the time of the full embalming, they would have already been curled and thus it would be too late to straighten them? Is that sort of practice, or something like it, done by morticians?
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31-01-2014, 05:12 PM
RE: Ask a mortician
(31-01-2014 06:29 AM)Luminon Wrote:  I find it offensive to pollute the ground of mother Nature with my corpse, which will be likely full of heavy metals, viruses, bacteria, toxins and so on. Cremation sounds better, but it's tough on energy demands, smoke pollution and grinding of charred bones to powder. So it's still not good enough.

I've heard of aquamation, it's reputedly a very fast, easy and cheap method of corpse disposal, used mostly on animals. Is it also available commercially for "funerals" (or lack of thereof)? It is my ideal that bodies should be disposed of ecologically for free by law, saving Americans 50,000 bucks per death for more important things than funeral, such as healthcare.

As much as I'm against law and taxes, human corpses are a pollutant and their hygienic disposal is a scientific injunction. I think that is a superior argument to sentiment of living people who want to hug and handle the body as their morbid religions taught them to. I'd be looking forward to some dirt-cheap yet hi-tech inhumation method. Any news on that horizon?

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.

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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31-01-2014, 05:16 PM
RE: Ask a mortician
(31-01-2014 09:48 AM)Luminon Wrote:  
(31-01-2014 08:53 AM)Hafnof Wrote:  You can always donate your body to science if you want it to be of use post mortem.
Last time I heard scientists were walled-off with heaps of donated bodies. The more expensive the funerals get, the more supportive people get about science.
Depends om where you go, really. Universities that use cadavers often use the same one for years so they don't accept new ones very often, but there are places that do research on things related to death, decomposition, etc. They're always accepting.

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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31-01-2014, 05:18 PM
RE: Ask a mortician
(31-01-2014 03:37 PM)daylightisabadthing Wrote:  Collecting my gear from the airport I once had to work around a crate that was sitting out in the sun (~40C in the summer here). It was labeled "human remains" and addressed to India, that can't be good can it?

Have you had to deal with badly re-patriated or stored bodies?

Fascinating thread btw, thank you.
Yeah that's not good but not very surprising either. We never know what to expect when we get someone from the airport, especially is they came from out of tbe coutry. The travel time, questionable conditions as you described, and embalming standards are always worrisome variables.

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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31-01-2014, 05:43 PM
RE: Ask a mortician
Do you ever get creeped out by the dead bodies?
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31-01-2014, 05:51 PM
RE: Ask a mortician
Are dead people really heavy?
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31-01-2014, 05:52 PM
RE: Ask a mortician
Are dead people stay cold or do they go back to room temp at some point?
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31-01-2014, 05:54 PM
RE: Ask a mortician
Is it true that under black women's scalps it's all gross from the relaxer chemicals that straighten hair?
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31-01-2014, 05:55 PM
RE: Ask a mortician
(31-01-2014 05:51 PM)BrokenQuill92 Wrote:  Are dead people really heavy?

I'm going to guess they're more or less the same weight as when they were alive...

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31-01-2014, 06:02 PM
RE: Ask a mortician
(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...

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