Unfortunately death is the ultimate end of life. Determining how someone died is often vitally important to their family members. This is particularly true when a young person dies or someone dies under suspicious circumstances. A medical examiner assistant is an important person when it comes to helping solve the puzzle surrounding a person’s death. The assistant works closely with the pathologist to find a cause of death.
Becoming A Medical Examiner Assistant
In order to work in this field, an individual needs some fairly comprehensive training. This begins with a doctor of medicine degree. They must also be certified by the American Board of Pathology. Most states also require that the individual be licensed in that state. Even though the educational requirements may seem daunting at first, they do give way to a lifelong career that is both lucrative and fascinating.
Pathology Assistant Duties
The job responsibilities that a medical examiner assistant takes on depend on each individual office. There are strict requirements in almost every state that involve the presence of a pathologist when the medical assistant is working. Although the pathologist conducts all of the autopsies, the pathologist assistant does help in certain key ways.
One way that an assistant is often utilized is in dealing with the family and law enforcement. The medical examiner prepares the report that states what the cause of death is and the assistant is then responsible for speaking with the family as well as law enforcement if the death was labeled suspicious. For this reason a person must be compassionate when they want to pursue this as a career choice. Death is difficult for many people and explaining the cause of death to a distraught love one can be challenging.
The medical examiner assistant will likely also need to be present during on-site examinations. These occur when a person’s body is first discovered and the coroner’s office is called. The coroner’s assistant will aid in the collection of any specimens and will help to ensure that the body is transported according to the protocol that is set forth by the medical examiner’s office. This is one of the reasons that a pathology assistant must be comfortable dealing with deceased individuals and must also be prepared for just about any scenario involving death.
After the deceased is first brought to the coroner’s office there is a basic examination done that checks for any lacerations or wounds. This is often left to the medical examiner assistant to take care of and they document any findings for review by the pathologist. During the actual autopsy they may also need to participate by collecting samples and specimens that will be later reviewed under a microscope or sent to a laboratory for further testing. Therefore they must be well-versed in proper collection techniques including labeling the samples.