The passing of the young talent, Ilerioluwa Aloba, widely known as Mohbad, has garnered significant attention and national concern. Many are demanding transparency regarding the circumstances surrounding his demise.
In response, both the Police and the Lagos State Government have issued directives for the exhumation of his remains to conduct an autopsy. The Lagos State Police Command has officially confirmed the exhumation, which took place on Thursday, conducted by a collaborative team comprising members of the Nigeria Police Force and health professionals. The police have also indicated their intent to proceed with the autopsy of the singer’s remains.
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Here are essential details to understand about the autopsy process:
Autopsy is a thorough and meticulous medical examination of an individual’s body and its internal organs after death, aimed at determining the cause of death. This procedure involves seven stages, culminating in the final stage, which involves closing the body.
One could inquire about the need for an autopsy in cases where there are disputes or uncertainties surrounding the cause of an individual’s demise. Autopsies are conducted for various reasons, including determining the cause of death in cases of uncertain or suspicious circumstances, investigating diseases, researching medical conditions, and advancing medical knowledge.
Types of Autopsies: There are three main types of autopsies:
– Forensic Autopsy: Performed to determine the cause and manner of death in cases involving criminal activity or suspicion.
– Clinical Autopsy: Conducted to understand the course of a disease or medical condition that led to the person’s death. It can help identify treatment options and improve patient care.
– Academic or Research Autopsy: Carried out for scientific or educational purposes, often to study diseases and gather data for medical research.
There is also the place of consent because a lot of people don’t want to see their loved ones put through that process. The issue of consent is significant because many individuals are reluctant to have their loved ones subjected to that procedure. In many cases, the deceased person’s family must provide consent for an autopsy to be conducted, especially for clinical or academic autopsies. Forensic autopsies may be ordered by law enforcement or the coroner.
What is the procedure?
During an autopsy, the pathologist examines the body externally and internally. This includes the removal and examination of organs, tissues, and fluids. The process is meticulous and can provide valuable information about the cause of death and any underlying health conditions.
The initial phase of a forensic autopsy involves a comprehensive external examination of the deceased. During this stage, the forensic pathologist conducts a thorough inspection of the body, meticulously documenting all observed findings and noting every physical trait. Furthermore, precise measurements and weight assessment of the body are essential components of this process.
2. Internal examination
In order to access the internal organs, the pathologist initiates the procedure by making an incision, commonly referred to as the ‘Y’ incision. The arms of this Y-shaped cut extend from the front of each shoulder down to the lower end of the breastbone, while the tail of the Y runs from the sternum to the pubic bone, typically veering to avoid the navel. The incision is made quite deep, reaching the rib cage in the chest area and entirely through the abdominal wall below. Subsequently, the skin from this incision is carefully peeled back, with the upper flap being folded over the face.
3. The internal organs are viewed
After performing the Y incision, a cut is made to expose the internal organs by sawing off the sternal plate or anterior chest wall. This step reveals a range of organs, including the lungs, heart, liver, stomach, large intestine, and small intestine.
4. The organs are removed
The process of removing these organs typically follows the Rokitansky method. This method involves the simultaneous removal of several organs, such as the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, and spleen, as a single block. Subsequently, these organs are dissected one by one on the autopsy table. During this examination, the forensic pathologist collects small tissue samples from each organ for further microscopic analysis.
5. The brain is removed
To extract the brain, an incision is made at the back of the scalp, extending from one ear to the other. The scalp is meticulously cut and separated from the underlying skull, carefully drawn forward. Subsequently, a vibrating saw is employed to remove the upper portion of the skull. With utmost care, the entire brain is then delicately lifted out from the cranial vault. Following removal, the brain can either undergo immediate fresh cutting for examination or be preserved by immersing it in a 20 percent solution of formalin, a process carried out with the consent of both the Coroner and the senior next of kin. This preservation allows for future analysis and study.
6. The organs are examined
All organs, excluding the intestines and stomach, undergo weighing during the examination. The pathologist proceeds to empty the intestines in a sink, eliminating any remnants of undigested food and feaces. The stomach is then carefully cut, and its contents are subjected to thorough examination.
7. Organs are returned to the body
After the examination, most organs are placed back inside the body, with the exception of small tissue samples collected for microscopic analysis. These organs are carefully returned to their respective cavities. In certain cases, absorbent filler material may be used to replace organs that are not reinserted.
If any organs or larger tissue fragments are retained for further investigation, both the Coroner and the senior next of kin are promptly informed. The senior next of kin is then consulted regarding their preference for either returning these retained specimens to the body or arranging for their respectful disposal after the investigation concludes.
8. The body is sewn up
This is the last stage in the autopsy process. Following the pathologist’s completion of the examination and the reinsertion of organs into the body, the post-mortem technician proceeds to sew the body back together. This involves suturing both the Y incision and the incision made in the head. Once these sutures are in place, the autopsy, excluding brain and tissue analysis, is considered finished. The stitching technique used on the incision is similar to that seen on a baseball.
After the procedure is done, findings follows. The autopsy report typically includes findings related to the cause of death, any contributing factors, and other relevant information. This report can be crucial in legal cases and medical research. Timeframe is also something to consider in this case. Autopsies are usually performed as soon as possible after death, but the timing can vary depending on the circumstances and jurisdiction.
Meanwhile privacy and sensitivity is key and autopsies are conducted with respect for the deceased person and their family’s wishes. The process is carried out professionally and confidentially.
Other processes include:
Advances in Imaging: In some cases, advanced imaging techniques like CT scans and MRI may be used as non-invasive alternatives to traditional autopsies.
Legal Implications: The results of a forensic autopsy can have legal implications, especially in cases of suspected homicide or wrongful death. The findings can be used as evidence in court.
Contribution to Medicine: Autopsies have historically played a significant role in advancing medical knowledge and improving patient care by uncovering previously unknown medical conditions and treatment options.
Autopsies are valuable tools in medicine, forensic science, and research, providing insights into the human body and the circumstances surrounding a person’s death.
Indeed, numerous individuals express concerns that autopsies entail dissecting the body, and those who have witnessed the procedure might prefer it not be performed on their loved ones.
This consideration should also apply to the situation concerning the late Mohbad. While deliberating on justice, the public should also take into account the delicacy of this process during this critical period.