Body of Evidence Part III: Just Brown Baggin’ It.

There seems to be some lingering confusion among some hospital medical personnel and those involved with the recovery of human tissue and organs on the proper way to preserve potential evidence on the hands of patients who have died in the hospital as a result suspected foul play or outright homicidal violence. Recently, tissue procurement technicians placed plastic bags on the hands of a decedent who was destined to be transported to the local medical examiner’s office due to death circumstances highly suspicious for foul play.

Plastic bags, latex or nitrile gloves should NEVER be placed hands of a decedent that is a Medical Examiner’s or Coroner’s case. Because of their impermeability, unlike paper, they will contain condensation produced by the body’s heat prior to cooling. This condensation can promote the growth of bacteria and mold that can interfere with or preclude the recovery of foreign materials, i.e. the perpetrator’s DNA or the gunshot residue from the shooter’s gun.

PAPER not plastic please! A paper bag placed over each hand secured at the wrist by a rubber band is modus operandi! Better, forensically speaking (as well as more environmentally friendly).

Sometimes visuals are better memory aids:


YES!                                                                 NO!


NO!                                                     MAYBE.


(Only those of you who grew up in the 70’s watching the Gong Show will understand the last one.)


Your memory aide and ticket to more CME credits available at: .


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