Social Question

mazingerz88's avatar

Would you work with, near or around dead people?

Asked by mazingerz88 (21499points) May 25th, 2011

Ewan Mcgregor was in a movie called “Nightwatch” where he worked as the night duty security guard of a morgue. “Nightlife”, an 80’s zombie movie had Scott Grimes as a teenager working for his uncle in a mortuary as his assistant. Both movies scared the heck out of me.

Yet there were some good movies which portrayed working with the dead rather in dramatic and warmly sentimental terms. Ally Sheedy in “Only The Lonely” played a symphatetic make-up artist for the deceased and Dan Akroyd was a benevolent mortician in “My Girl”.

I’ve never had a conversation with any real life mortician or anybody who worked around dead people so I used these movies as references. So why do some people cringe at the thought of working in a morgue or mortuary while others do not? And which of the two groups do you belong?

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44 Answers

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Sure, dead bodies don’t unnerve me unless they’re grossly decayed or chunked up.

Poser's avatar

Kind of creeps me out. I visited my GF’s medical school, and she showed me the labs where they “receive” their cadaver on the first day. I could see all the tables lined up with the bodies on them (they were covered). They also had all the displays of various body parts and fetuses in jars. It was pretty wierd, but didn’t scare me, just gave me a case of the willies.

Once I was riding my motorcycle, and passed an accident where another biker had died. They had him on the road still, covered with a sheet. That one scared me. I stopped riding for a couple of years after that.

jrpowell's avatar

I couldn’t. I damn near shat myself when I had to scrape a cat off the street. The only reason I managed to do it was so the twins wouldn’t have to see it when I walked them to school in the morning.

Ajulutsikael's avatar

I used to want to be a mortician.

_zen_'s avatar

Probably not.

Plucky's avatar

No. I am not comfortable with the deceased.

Hibernate's avatar

It’s common for some because they enjoy the “obedience” of the dead people not to mention they do not whine constantly.

I wouldn’t mind.

@mazingerz88 i recommend “Day watch ” too.

YARNLADY's avatar

Yes, I don’t think I would mind it.

ucme's avatar

On tour with the Rolling Stones? No thanks, wouldn’t get much job satisfaction see.

manolla's avatar

I never had direct contact with a dead person before so I’m not sure how my feelings are on this, I might propably take it and end up leaving it.

flutherother's avatar

Not by choice, but I suppose you would get used to it.

augustlan's avatar

I could probably do it. I like solitude and quiet environments, so, that’d work well for me. It would have to be in a very clinical environment, I think, like a morgue rather than a funeral home. Funeral homes can be downright creepy.

While I was growing up, my grandfather sold funeral cars (hey, someone’s got to do it). As a result, I’ve ridden in more limos and more hearses than your average living person, and have met and socialized with a number of morticians. They were mostly very jolly people, interestingly.

chewhorse's avatar

They’d have to pay me a butt load of money… Plus fringe benefits (that not having anything to do with the stiffs).

snowberry's avatar

No problem.

cazzie's avatar

My father worked with the US Army recovery division just after WW2. He was basically working shoulder to shoulder with Russians in Germany and that front and with the RAF along the coastline, including Norway, recovering bodies of the fallen. When word got around about his work after he returned from his first tour, the funeral homes in his home town tracked him down. They talked to him about doing that work for a living, but then he decided he’d seen more than enough death to last him a lifetime. ‘Too many dog tags and toe tags.’ he’d say.

I think I could do it if I had to because I’d just have to think of how brave my father was in the face of all that death, but I’d prefer not to.

KateTheGreat's avatar

I’d probably like it. It’d be so quiet and peaceful.

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marinelife's avatar

I have been around the dead. I have even prepared a dead women so she could be seen by her family. I didn’t really like it. I would not choose to do it.

Jude's avatar

Nope. I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night.

Mikewlf337's avatar

No I wouldn’t. The reason I wouldn’t is that I would get use to it very quick. Like if i worked in a funeral home, I would be so desensitized to the sight of people crying and sorrow that I would turn into a cold emotionless person. I don’t want that to happen.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Nope, sorry.

1. can’t stand the smell
2. would constantly be afraid of it becoming a zombiefest

linguaphile's avatar

My sister works with dead people—she has an inner switch where she can be compassionate and caring for live people suffering grief and loss, but totally scientific and tuned out when working on cadavers. A former aunt of mine works as a mortician and she has the be-e-ee-eest sense of humor! Some people are really taken aback by some of her comments, like “Guy arrived today after attempting to leapfrog cars on I-95. Bones are gravel in a skin bag.”
Me… I used to be able to work on cadavers for anatomy classes but nowadways, not at all. Lost that inner switch. Dead mice, however, give me serious willies more than live mice. Never know what decomposer is residing inside that fur bag!

DominicX's avatar

No, I wouldn’t. I respect people who do it, but it’s not for me. I prefer the living…

cazzie's avatar

@linguaphile My problem is, more and more… I want to know what that decomposer is. I guess I’m the opposite of my music loving husband…lol…. I think I’ll be going back to school this fall studying, this time…. Biological micro organisms. I may just have to rally up my father’s courage.

Stinley's avatar

When I was a student, one of the courses I did was forensic medicine and we were offered the chance to see an autopsy. One of my friends was horrified that I would gawp at a dead person and persuaded me not to go but wish I had now. I think I’d be ok and be respectful

ratboy's avatar

I’m not entirely certain that I don’t.

ratboy's avatar

One of the all time great mortician films is The Loved One.

faye's avatar

As an RN I’ve wrapped lots of dead people to go to the morgue. There is an inner switch in lots of us for sure. No heebie-jeebies here. I helped harvest eyes and saw 2 autopsies. There are horrible wounds to dress in living patients that are worse to see.

SavoirFaire's avatar

Do full professors count?

linguaphile's avatar

@cazzie You should meet my sis- you two would have a great conversation!! XD

cazzie's avatar

I think there must come a time when the creepiness disappears and only the fact appear that will help answer qusetions, if there are any.

linguaphile's avatar

That’s the “inner switch”— it turns on when curiosity, interest and intense focus wipe out the creepy factor. I remember it clearly when I was younger—I dissected cats and worked on a cadaver for my gross anatomy class that one year I decided I wanted to be a doctor. I loved it—there is still a part of my mind that is scientific and detached enough to be intrigued by what I found, but I’ve been far away from it too long—art and literature took over.
@cazzie Do you like Gil Grissom? :)

ddude1116's avatar

I’m incapable of dealing with any sort of body, but were I to, I’d choose dead ones because I don’t risk killing the poor sap like I would were I a surgeon. However, I do know a guy whohas a mortician for a brother. Apparently he loves it because it’s… sort of like art? I don’t remember the reason, actually, but the guy loves his job, even owns a funeral home now.

Sunny2's avatar

I took a 7 credit course in anatomy in college. We got the leftover bodies from the med school. We had detached arms and legs to learn all the attachment points of muscles to bones, etc. Much as tried to deny my negative reactions to the smell of formaldehyde and the stringy dead meat muscles which had been severed so we had to handle the the muscles to see where they came from and where they went, I couldn’t. The only thing that got me through the course was denial, breathing through my mouth a lot and letting other people manipulate the dead muscles. It was just plain gruesome.

cazzie's avatar

@linguaphile Nope, I don’t like those shows in general. I tried to wach CSI NY once and they opened the back of a film camera in broad daylight and then said something like… ‘Let’s get this developed. Here’s our evidence.’ I was too pissed off and changed the channel. Too many stupid stupid mistakes. I watch House and love it, but occasionally, I have to forgive a stupid comment.

Beulah's avatar

I did. There’s nothing scary about it.

flutherother's avatar

No because I would end up having to do all the work.

mazingerz88's avatar

@flutherother You are so dead on on that one. : )

linguaphile's avatar

@cazzie I have to agree… they can get pretty inaccurate. What I do like is how Grissom and Jack Hodgins (Bones) use bug-forensics to study time of death, location of death, etc. I have no idea if that’s accurate or not, but still find it fascinating that the idea/possibility exist!

cazzie's avatar

@linguaphile Yes, they absolutely have to examine the development of bug life in corpses in some cases. People are specially trained for this work by using ‘Body Farms’. http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/criminal_mind/forensics/bill_bass/5.html

For recently deceased, they usually only need to use liver temperature. In all these shows, though, they never show the realistic timeline of how long the test results take.

Magdalene's avatar

I can wok anywhere when its about making a bread..but yes without compromising on my values..

syz's avatar

Sure, why not?

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

As much as I would like to say ‘yes’, it really comes down to the job. Like @Neizvestnaya said, if a body was “grossly decayed or chunked up”, I couldn’t do it on a daily basis, even if the gag reflex could be overcome. Body Farms and Pathology hold no interest based upon the intense research and education involved to obtain and succeed in these positions.

In other roles, I’d be willing to work in an environment surrounded by the dead. Their bodies do no harm and deserve their respect.

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