Published: August 2020
Publisher: Jonathan Ball
My Rating: 🦋🦋🦋🦋🦋/5
I must admit that I am always excited to read books about forensic pathology. Autopsy was and still is quite a hyped up book and for good reason! The fact that it is written by a local author is an added bonus!
A little bit of background, the author is a senior forensic pathologist working at a well known South African university. He has been working as a forensic pathologist for many years and therefore has so much experience and amazing advice that he shares with us in this book. We learn about how he got into forensic pathology and why. As well as what keeps him motivated as he says ‘after the 9000th autopsy’.
When you hear the words forensic pathology, you think mortuaries, autopsies, dead bodies being dissected. You don’t think about or realize the amount of work that it takes firstly, to become a qualified forensic pathologist and all of the other details that they have to take into account. Even though they work with the dead, they still have to have knowledge on every other field in medicine to be able to find the cause of death.
We are walked through the process of an autopsy, from performing the actual autopsy and what it entails, to sitting in front of a microscope. It is often the smallest details that can make the biggest difference in a case and can help to determine whether it is a suicide or a homicide. The fact that a piece of debris or a belt buckled in a certain way can help solve a murder is absolutely amazing.
The writing style is straight forward, not dressed up or sugarcoated. It is very factual, but extremely interesting and can easily be finished in a day. From veld fires and lightning strikes to gunshot wounds and stabbings, we learn how resilient, yet fragile the human body can be. My favourite chapter was about the ten lessons for the living from the dead.
“In everything, we use science to solve problems of the law.”Ryan Blumenthal, Autopsy
I have so much respect for forensic pathologists and the work that they do. I have always been interested in the field, but I was always aware of what it would be like to actually work in the field. The long and grueling hours of work that is put in, it is often a thankless job.
What I took away from reading this book is, do what makes you happy. It sounds cliché, but life really is too short. Another lesson to take away is to be careful, drive slower, drink responsibly, don’t take unnecessary risks, it could be the last thing you ever do.
Ryan Blumenthal gives us so much good advice and it really makes you appreciate how precious life actually is. I feel that no matter who you are, where you live or what job you have, everyone can learn something from this book.