Discovery Fit & Health
The clothing and protective gear worn by medical examiners while performing an autopsy is similar to that worn during surgeries. The protective gear is designed to provide the doctor with protection from infection. It's also designed to keep the doctor from contaminating evidence. The examiners wear scrub suits, surgical gowns and two pairs of surgical gloves. They also wear shoe covers, face shields, hairnets and surgical masks to protect them from errant splatters.
While the medical examiner's protective gear takes a precise approach to every possible contingency, the tools they use for the exam itself are a distinct contrast -- a gallery of big and small instruments for prying, chiseling and sawing into the recently departed. After all, there is a reason the examiners need to dress so protectively; it can be messy work.
Medical examiners use a variety of instruments during an autopsy. These include a bone saw for cutting through the skull, a bread knife for dissecting portions of organs and an enterotome -- a special set of scissors -- for cutting open intestines. They use a hammer with a hook or a skull chisel to pry off the skull cap and a Stryker saw to cut through the skull. Their rib cutters are shears that can easily slice through ribs, and toothed forceps help the examiners pick up heavy organs. Scalpels and scissors are also used in various slicing and cutting applications. Finally, the Hagedorn needle is employed to stitch up the body following the autopsy. Aside from these tools, medical examiners also employ a variety of knives and tools available at restaurant supply or hardware stores.
Typically, and notwithstanding the procedures described above, any marks left behind after an autopsy examination won't be visible to grieving loved ones at a funeral proceeding [source: Spokane County Medical Examiner].
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