The Interesting World of MERIT
Posted by Paul on 1/26/2013 11:46:00 AM
Dead bodies. Graphic photos. Gruesome stories.You would be surprised what you might learn on a Saturday morning in the conference room at the the MDA office. Well, maybe not every Saturday morning, but today was an exception. Today was the annual MERIT conference. MERIT is the Missouri Emergency Response Identification Team. It's the state dental forensic team that was created after the 1993 Flood. This conference provides that team both a forum for continuing education and a touch point for the latest developments in the field. Dr Eric Wilson of Cole Camp provides direction for the group.
The CE is open to anyone and a strong and diverse turnout of 60 people showed up for this year's topic: Forensic Death Investigation. It was superbly led by Mary Fran Ernst, an experienced (and entertaining!) death investigator from St Louis County. Her topics included Medicolegal and Forensic Aspects of Fire, Identification of the Deceased, The Real World of Forensic Science and Death Scene Investigation.
While many might find the topic morbid, I was fascinated to learn the procedures and policies behind death scene investigations. People die in all sorts of ways but the corpse never lies and there are many clues at every death investigation. I learned how to start a fire that would be hard to detect as arson. I learned the difference between a coroner and a medical examiner. I learned the Rule of 9 in determining what percentage of a body is burned. I learned that most people who die in a fire die from pulmonary issues not burns. This was the case in the horrible night club fire in Brazil that killed 230 people. And naturally I learned how valuable and reliable dental records are as a means of identification. It was all quite stimulating.
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