Submitted by Roger Lori
Thirty years ago, I learned an excellent “trick of the trade” from an old embalmer, John Blower of Blower Bros. Mortuary in Santa Ana. Although that mortuary is now long gone, the tip I learned from John continues to be very useful.
The back is an area that is always difficult to get properly embalmed on an autopsied case. This is problematic, but particularly so if the case is to be held for some time at the mortuary, or if it is to be shipped. The method featured this month can help solve this problem.
First, remove the viscera from the abdominal cavity. Next, run a scalpel many times over the thick membrane inside the back and between all the ribs. This will allow the fluids to penetrate and embalm the back from the inside while you are injecting. If you do not incise the membrane, the fluid will not penetrate from the inside.
After your arterial embalming process is complete, and you have removed all the excess fluid, place a strip of webb roll down along the back, covering the ribs. Then, pour about half a bottle of cavity fluid (preferably Champion HAR) over the webb roll, place some hardening compound over that, then treat the viscera and sew up as you normally would. You will not see skin slippage or smell decomposition afterwards. This method works especially well on a case that is a “found-dead,” etc.
Tip originally posted 11/02.
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