It’s ‘CSI’ meets ‘Scared Straight’… Fascinating and macabre…
(Warning: disturbing medical images below)
Obesity – The Post Mortem, set to air on BBC Three on September 13, depicts the stomach churning scenes of pathologists slicing open the women and examining her skin, heart, liver, lungs and kidneys.
The body used in the documentary is that of a woman from Long Beach Island, California in her early 60s who died of heart failure and donated her body to medical science.
[For perspective, the deceased was 5’5″ and 238 lbs.]
As the team began the post mortem they noted a thick layer of greasy fat that ‘felt like butter with a mesh going through it’ that was mainly distributed around the belly.
‘I needed a lot more strength to cut through the tissue which kind of bloomed out in neon yellow,’ said Carla Valentine, technical curator of the museum of pathology at Queen Mary University.
‘It made me aware of the fat on my own body and the effect it has.’
We are then taken on a tour of the cadaver’s organs.
Pathologist Dr Mike Osborn says: ‘The heart feels baggy, when you pick up the heart of someone fit it would be tight and hard like picking up a piece of steak, this is like more like a bag.’
‘At 449 grams, it’s a heavy heart, despite her weight this woman is quite a petite person and should have a heart of 225 grams so this is much heavier.’
‘This heart has gone from a thick muscle to a paper bag that is not able to pump blood around the body,’ he added.
What a lovely image. Right? But wait, we’re not done yet!
‘Fatty damage can lead to cirrhosis and cancer but even people who do not develop those can have liver failure.’
After inspecting the woman’s lungs the BBC pathologists said they were dripping with fluid which is a sign of pulmonary edema caused by heart failure.
‘This would have given a sensation of drowning,’ Osborn said during the documentary.
The rest of the ‘tour’ can be read at the Daily Mail website. But it isn’t for the squeamish.