Why do morticians have to wear masks when doing an autopsy or post mortem on a corpse?


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Connor Sephton Profile
Connor Sephton answered
It's very important than morticians wear masks when doing an autopsy or post mortem on a corpse, because the body may still harbour pathogenic bacteria, diseased blood, or other infectious agents. The body of a corpse, or cadaver, is filled with gases and other substances that may harm human health if they are inhaled or ingested. For these reasons, there are very strict controls on how an autopsy is performed and how a doctor must gown up and put on a mask and gloves before beginning this type of post-mortem procedures.

  • What would Kay Scarpetta do?

Doctor Kay Scarpetta, who was created by author Patricia Cornwell, is possibly the world's most famous fictional medical examiner. Scarpetta is a stickler for rules in her famous crime novels, and she's very intense about having a spotless working area for her autopsies. In fact, Scarpetta, who always scrubs up and forbids chewing gum and eating in her operating room, knows all of the dangerous germs and bodily fluids a corpse can harbour. Some of Cornwell's most impressive works of fiction, such as The Body Farm and The Last Precinct, offer detailed looks at how a post-mortem examination is done - from masking up to preparing the body for viewing by friends and family.

  • Learning more

To learn more about post-mortems and the rules of hygiene for these medical procedures, consider doing a little Internet research about the duties of a medical examiner. By studying the job description, you'll discover a lot of interesting facts about how germs and pathogens can "survive" death and infect a doctor. However, with many of today's high-tech lab coats, masks and gloves, the threat of disease is much lower than it's been in the past.

A medical examiner needs to protect him or herself from being contaminated while working on a body. Since post-mortems require saws and other tools that may spray blood and bone dust, it's important to stay as clean as possible.
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yeahsure linda
yeahsure linda commented
I read all her books until her love life turned into a mess. I need to catch up on the books I've just been focusinv on James Patterson, Sandra Brown etc
Heather Collins Profile
Heather Collins answered

1. Morticians do not perform autopsies. A coroner, medical examiner, or pathologist perform autopsies. A mortician prepares the body for burial or cremation.

2. I'm studying forensics and so far have been to five autopsies. We wore face shields but did not wear masks except for those more sensitive to the smell.  The bodies were fresh and didn't smell that bad, and those that did wear masks just wore the surgical masks.

The 2 main reason a mask is worn is

1. Smell. A dead body that's 4-5 days old tends to smell bad. Everyone has smelled the rotting carcass of an animal in the air. Try being just inches from that death scent and noxious putrid gasses of organs for several hours as the autopsy takes place and you'll understand why masks are sometimes used, especially when the stomach and intestines are dissected.

2. If a communicable disease is suspected gas/bio masks are used to prevent infection.

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