A class incumbent is responsible for providing a wide variety of assistance to Medical Examiners in the conduct of autopsies and/or external body examinations and inspections.
Nature and Scope
Class incumbents report to the Chief Medical Examiner and are responsible for providing the full range of assistance during the conduct of autopsies and/or external body examinations and inspections using a variety of equipment and techniques. Work includes taking and developing radiographs, and preparing, recording and handling specimens and evidence in accordance with strict chain of custody protocol, and transporting decedents. In addition, incumbents are responsible for sterilizing and maintaining autopsy tools and equipment. A significant aspect of the work involves exposure to extremely unpleasant sights, sounds, and odors. Incumbents are further exposed to disease and hazardous body fluids, gases, and chemicals in the autopsy/examination room.
Essential functions are fundamental, core functions common to all positions in the class series and are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all job duties for any one position in the class. Since class specifications are descriptive and not restrictive, incumbents can complete job duties of similar kind not specifically listed here.
Assists in the conduct of autopsies and other internal/external examinations by independently using a variety of equipment and techniques; performs closure of the body by replacing body parts and suturing the body after the medical examiner completes the exam; prepares skeletal remains and assists with their examination.
Places bodies on the autopsy table, tags, weighs, measures, refrigerates and records required data/prepares necessary paperwork on bodies undergoing autopsies and/or external body examinations/inspections. Performs post exam cleaning and prepares body for release.
Photographs bodies and takes and develops radiographs using an x-ray machine for identification; lifts and manipulates bodies for x-rays to obtain evidence; and cleans x-ray equipment to eliminate cross contamination.
Measures and records body fluid volumes removed during postmortem exam to ensure adequate quantities are provided for the evaluation of those fluids.
Prepares fixation solutions that are used to prevent rapid decomposition of autopsy tissue for slide preparation; stores specimens in sterile containers and/or uses proper solutions depending on testing.
Prepares, logs, labels and transfers or releases specimens and other evidence to the appropriate lab for further testing, or to law enforcement officials, following strict chain of custody protocol.
Ensures all biohazard wastes are collected, stored and disposed of accordingly and maintains proper storage of reagents for safe handling.
Ensures proper maintenance and cleaning of the scrubs, linens, laundry room, autopsy room, table, floors and equipment, refrigeration facilities and other related areas to eliminate cross contamination and prepare for the next autopsy.
Participates in quality assurance standards established by the National Association of Medical Examiners by performing secondary reviews of post mortem worksheets and documentation to ensure information on the forms for the decedents and evidence of samples collected is accurate.
Uses an automated forensic information system and standard computer software to enter, modify, delete, retrieve and report on autopsy data; prepares the toxicology request, body sheets, and maintains a log book.
Maintains pathology inventory and orders supplies for all autopsy and inspection related tools and equipment.
Ensures that the decedent's clothing and personal effects are collected and go to the funeral home with the body.
Contacts include internal agency personnel, as well as funeral homes, law enforcement, laboratory and medical personnel to answer questions, verify information, and coordinate the disposition of decedents, specimens, samples and evidence.
Performs scene response with Forensic Investigators during special circumstances; transports decedents between morgue locations, reports to scenes and hospitals to assist with lifting, transfer, and/or transport of decedents.
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
The intent of the listed knowledge, skills and abilities is to give a general indication of the core requirements for all positions in the class series; therefore, the KSA’s listed are not exhaustive or necessarily inclusive of the requirements of every position in the class.
Knowledge of autopsy procedures, equipment and reports.
Knowledge of basic weights and measurements.
Knowledge of basic mathematics.
Knowledge of National Association of Medical Examiners accreditation standards and other policies and procedures applicable to storage, handling and transfer of forensic specimens and evidence.
Knowledge of the methods and techniques of radiology and safety procedures and protocols.
Knowledge of infection control procedures and techniques in accordance with federal and state laws, rules and regulations.
Knowledge of state vehicle inspection and maintenance policies and procedures.
Knowledge of the operation of lab management systems, automated information systems to enter, modify, delete, retrieve and report on data.
Skill in using and maintaining autopsy equipment and instruments such as stretchers, saws, scales and body lift device.
Skill in collecting, handling, preserving and storing specimens and histology samples.
Skill in accurately recording data relative to autopsies to include anatomical diagrams.
Skill in forensic photographic techniques to include operation of a variety of equipment.
Skill in adjusting and operating radiological equipment.
Ability to perform precise measurements.
Ability to withstand adverse and unpleasant working conditions consisting of abnormal sights, sounds, and odors.
Ability to maintain strict chain of custody in accordance with established protocol.
Ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing.
Ability to communicate effectively with a variety of healthcare professionals using proper medical and forensic terminology.
Ability to transport bodies while preserving evidence.
JOB REQUIREMENTS for Forensic Morgue Assistant
Applicants must have education, training and/or experience demonstrating competence in each of the following areas:
Knowledge of collecting, tagging, securing, and preserving forensic samples, specimens, or other evidence in accordance with infection control laws, rules, regulations, standards, policies and procedures.
Knowledge of forensic photography which includes scene, autopsy, and macro imaging documentation as well as awareness of legal developments relating to digital and multimedia evidence.
Knowledge of medical and biological terminology.
Knowledge of weighing and measuring.
Six months experience in record keeping.
Six months experience in applying laws, rules, regulations, standards, policies and procedures.
Possession of a valid Driver's License (not suspended, revoked or cancelled, or disqualified from driving).