More than in the movies

The job of a real medical examiner involves more than roles on shows like CSI might have you believe. In addition to performing pathological examinations (autopsies), the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office is responsible for collecting remains, identifying the deceased, and tracking down their family. And while therapists, funeral directors, and community members can help people cope with their loss, medical examiners are often called upon to facilitate visitations, and to give surviving family an understanding of the details of their loved one’s death

Scalpels and gurneys aren’t the pathologist’s only tools—they also test bodies for toxins, study x-ray images, and perform microscopic examinations of body tissues to figure out how and when a person died.

Photos courtesy Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office