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Ronke Shonde’s autopsy update – 11 things to note about the procedure

Yesterday ( Thursday, May 12 ), pathologists from Lagos  State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, concluded the autopsy on Ronke Shonde, the 36 year old mother of two children allegedly killed by her dock worker husband, Lekan, 51, on the night of Thursday, May 5.

The corpse was discovered the next morning, while her husband eloped for three days, and only surrendering to the police on Monday, May 9, following persuasion from friends.

The autopsy report is due on Tuesday, May 17 – but it will not be made public.

An autopsy, ‘also known as post-mortem examination, necropsy, or autopsies cadeverum, is a specialised procedure to determine the cause and manner of death and to evaluate any disease or injury that may be present’ (Wikipedia).

For keen followers of the riveting saga, here are 11 things to know about autopsy procedure…
1. Depending on the brief, autopsies can be simple or extensive. It can involve only a single organ such as the heart or brain. But the standard practice is to examine the chest, abdomen and brain.
2. Autopsies start with external examination. And it goes further to check the weight of the corpse and height. Marks, tattoos and scars are noted. A thorough examination of every inch of the body.
3. The body is surgically cut from the shoulders to the pubic bone in a Y or U shape, exposing the rib cage after separating the skin and underlying tissues.
4. The front of the rib cage is removed, exposing the neck and organs in the chest.
5. The organs there are removed – lungs, heart, wind pipe, oesophagus, thyroid gland, etc.
6. Organs in the abdomen are also dissected – kidneys, liver, reproductive organs, intestines, pancreas…
7. An incision is made at the back of skull to remove the brain.
8. All the organs are first checked physically, and further medically examined. Some tissues are tested under the microscope or with chemicals.
9. The organs are then returned to the body, and the body is sewn back. Or the organs are kept in a lab for teaching or research .
10. Pictures of the body and tissues are taken for future reference and analysis.
11. A detailed report which describes the procedure and findings is then prepared. This is different from clinical findings ( doctors and lab test), but is used as a correlation

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