Autopsies Are More Important Than You Think

Autopsies Are More Important Than You Think

For most people, the mere word “autopsy” summons up visceral images. Bodies lying cold and blue in a lab, a Y-shaped incision on their naked chest. Sardonic doctors hovering over them with medieval tools. Grim viridian-tinted light, banks of glowing screens. Bullets clinking into steel pans. There is tenebrous music, probably.

It’s nonsense.

The first thing to know about how a real autopsy lab works is that everything TV taught you is wrong. For one thing, there is no blue lighting anywhere — this is the dubious logic of CSI, in which autopsies are conducted in atmospherically dim rooms. In reality, the lighting is dazzlingly white and stark. The floors are brushed cement, the walls are white, and the tables made of stainless steel.

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