Wednesday, October 24, 2007

ID by Pacemaker

I went to speak at a local high school this morning. I was told that it would be a couple of 10 minute presentations with 30 minutes in between and only a small number of teens would attend. Well, it was a bit different. First, each discussion was about 40 minutes long. Second, about 80 kids filed into the room I was to speak in, it was a computer resource room and really not made for presentations like this. Apparently some of the science teachers heard I was going to speak and brought their classes. There were about 20 in the second group, a better fit for the room. An energetic bunch and while they had some distractions amongst themselves, they really got into my talk and it was a lot of fun as usual. I was able to discuss what we do as Coroner and I also got a few death prevention plugs in.

One of the things I discussed was a current case we are working on. Without discussing who, I told them about some skelatalized remains that were found last evening. They were found in a field not all that far from the office. One of the interesting facts about the case, and the part that I discussed with the students, was that we identified him by means of his pacemaker. We were able to get a serial number of the pacemaker and checking with the manufacturer we got his name. Several other things about the remains were consistent and so we were able to contact his family based on that information.

So many details contribute to death investigations to get straight and to keep straight; it can be quite the challenge (in a good way). That’s why we are called medicolegal death “investigators”. (His autopsy is going on now, but likely his was a natural death, without “foul-play”.)

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