Working stiff : two years, 262 bodies, and the making of a medical examiner

by Melinek, Judy,

Format: Print Book [2014]
Availability: Available at 24 Libraries 24 of 25 copies
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Summary
Just two months before the September 11 terrorist attacks, Dr. Judy Melinek began her training as a New York City forensic pathologist. With her husband T.J. and their toddler Daniel holding down the home front, Judy threw herself into the fascinating world of death investigation-performing autopsies, investigating death scenes, counselling grieving relatives.

Working Stiffchronicles Judy's two years of training, taking readers behind the police tape of some of the most harrowing deaths in the Big Apple, including a first-hand account of the events of September 11, the subsequent anthrax bio-terrorism attack, and the disastrous crash of American Airlines flight 587.

Lively, action-packed, and loaded with mordant wit,Working Stiff offers a first-hand account of daily life in one of America's most arduous professions, and the unexpected challenges of shuttling between the domains of the living and the dead. The body never lies-and through the murders, accidents, and suicides that land on her table, Dr. Melinek lays bare the truth behind the glamorized depictions of autopsy work on shows likeCSIandLaw & Orderto reveal the secret story of the real morgue.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "*Starred Review* In this spellbinding memoir, forensic pathologist Melinek recounts everything (penis rings and all) she witnesses during the two years she trained in the New York City chief medical examiner's office. (Her husband, a stay-at-home dad and her Harvard English-major sweetheart, is her skilled coauthor.) She starts work just two months before the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center but wisely saves that overwhelming disaster--and the one-week-later anthrax cases and two-months-later American Airlines crash that kills 267--for the end of her story. After 9/11, she and her 29 fellow medical examiners look at 19,956 pieces of recovered remains (598 are assigned to her), including a wedding band inscribed forever Kevin and a batch of nothing but feet. But before she gets to those details, she devotes most of her account to more typical deaths by natural causes as well as homicides and suicides (she autopsied many of each). Melinek is movingly empathetic toward the families of victims. After all, she stood in their shoes: her own psychiatrist dad killed himself. Today she continues to perform autopsies (more than 2,000 so far) while teaching at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center. An unforgettable story.--Springen, Karen Copyright 2010 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "In this engrossing tale of how Melinek became a forensic pathologist, she pulls back the sheet to show readers just what goes on after someone dies. Her caseload varies widely, and to help readers appreciate the job's mix of art and science, she outlines basic procedures and gives examples of the cunning detective work so often required, regularly sprinkling in bits of trivia. Melinek recognizes that it's sensational cases like murders that "everybody wants to hear about." She indulges readers' curiosity, but not at the expense of her larger story, which focuses on the breadth of her experience rather than a collection of anecdotes. This cumulative experience prepares readers for the book's most trying passages: Melinek's experiences working on victims of the 9/11 attacks in New York City. She respectfully and artfully relays the kaleidoscope of emotions that she and her coworkers endured as they struggled to first comprehend what had happened and then keep up with truckloads of bodies and body parts they were tasked with cataloguing. Though some sections call for a strong stomach, armchair detectives and would-be forensic pathologists will find Melinek's well-written account to be inspiring and engaging. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Melinek, Judy.
Forensic pathologists -- New York (State) -- New York -- Biography.
Medical examiners (Law) -- New York (State) -- New York -- Biography.
Publisher New York :[2014]
Edition First Scribner hardcover edition.
Contributors Mitchell, T. J., author.
Language English
Description 258 pages ; 21 cm
ISBN 9781476727257 (hardback)
1476727252 (hardback)
9781476727264 (trade paperback)
1476727260 (trade paperback)
Other Classic View