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Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and…
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Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner (edition 2014)

by MD Judy Melinek (Author), Tanya Eby (Narrator), Tantor Audio (Publisher)

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3422546,123 (4.15)21
Member:Stewartry
Title:Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner
Authors:MD Judy Melinek (Author)
Other authors:Tanya Eby (Narrator), Tantor Audio (Publisher)
Info:Tantor Audio (2014)
Collections:Read
Rating:****
Tags:None

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Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner by Judy Melinek

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English (24)  Piratical (1)  All languages (25)
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
So fun! This is the kind of Kim's Wheelhouse book that I love reading and telling people about despite the serious side eye I know will be coming my way. ( )
  KimMeyer | Oct 1, 2018 |
This book brought back a lot of memories from when I interned at a coroner's office. Good times! Because of my own quasi-experience in a Medical Examiner's shoes (at least, the tech helping the examiner out) I could relate to a lot that Judy covers. I almost wish I had read this book when I was interning. I learned a lot of things that could have helped me identify things, tips and tricks of the trade too. My biology background helped with the terminology so that the read was entertaining and fun, not a slog. Not that I'd recommend a book like this unless you have a particular interest in the subject. If you don't, or if you don't have a background in biology labs, morgues, coroner offices, etc. then this book will probably gross the hell out you. I found it interesting to read the parts about the 9/11 attack results. I don't always think of the coroner aftermath to big disasters like that, but it is such a big piece of the aftermath. A good memoir for those interested! I'm glad I got to it. ( )
  Kassilem | Apr 17, 2018 |
"Working Stiff" is a gentle reminder of how great it is to be alive. At the same time, Dr. Melinek describes the amusing way medical professionals develop a sick sense of humor. Behind the scenes, we have to build thick skins or a sense of humor. We know there is a time & place for everything, but we are human, too.

Facing death everyday, as Dr. Melinek does, is not as morbid as it sounds. I laughed and cried with her stories. A pleasing read for anyone interested in forensics. ( )
  godmotherx5 | Apr 5, 2018 |
Each body tells a story.

This is the tale of a woman's decision to switch over from her residency as a surgeon to training as a medical examiner. You know CSI, Criminal Minds, the other CSI, Rizzoli and Isles, the other other CSI, etc.? Forget them. They fit almost as well into the fantasy genre as Game of Thrones or anything with werewolves or vampires.

I grew up watching Quincy, M.E. I'm as fond of Jack Klugman from that show as I am of Oscar Madison. But I think it was mostly his fault that I was as shocked as I was – which was extremely – when I grew up a little and found out that doctors can't always diagnose illness or determine cause of death with certainty. Quincy and shows like it always made it seem like it was very basic puzzle–solving, like simple algebra: this symptom + another symptom – some other symptom = diagnosis; some were just more obscure than others, or perhaps there might be obscuring circumstances. Hey, I was young; I didn't quite have a handle on how vastly simplified the world is on the other side of the tv screen. It must be nice to live there, where the killer is always caught (in 48 minutes! Unless of course it's a featured serial killer who escapes and will be returning for the season finale) and the disease is always cured, or at least identified.

Honestly, I remember being very confused and gobsmacked the first time I saw something that was, you know, real. On CSI, there is impatient sighing when they have to wait a few hours for DNA results. In reality, it's more like months. Whatever it was, it wasn't as real as this book. Turns out a tox screen can take a couple of weeks – and that shocked me. Need a copy of a report from another department? Give it a few months.

It's been a little while since I bought this audiobook, so I don't remember whether the setting in time of the book had an impact on my decision to give it a try: Dr. Melinek changed her concentration from treating the living to examining the dead in 2001. She trained in New York City. If the idea that she was involved in the aftermath of 9/11 was one of the reasons I opted for the book, it was a moment of temporary insanity. To this day I flinch when a plane flies low. I live in Connecticut. I've visited NYC many times – and police and fire fighters from my area went to Ground Zero. I had friends and friends–of–friends who live and work in the City. I heard first–hand accounts, that weekend. It's emotional. Still. Of course.

Between that and the basic subject matter, this book is not for the squeamish. But it's a story well told, with humor and compassion – and passion. Even while I was cringing, I enjoyed it. ( )
  Stewartry | Nov 13, 2017 |
Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner by Judy Melinek, T.J. Mitchell, Tanya Eby (Narrator) is a terrific audio book I picked up from the library! Wow! I have been a RN all my life and now retired but those faint of heart may not be able to read this. It is a bit detailed at what a medical examiner really does for a living and not the TV version. I was fascinated and horrified at some of the things that came through, maybe not at the bodies but what people do to people or what people will do to get out of work. This only covers the time she is at New York but it is during that time that the World Trade Center is hit. The tragic and gruesome chapters there were jarring. This is a book I am glad I came across. None of the details of the work bothered me having seen so much in my life as a nurse but just want to warn those with stomachs weaker than mine to be warned. Great book, hope everyone that can read it, will. It is the audio version and the narrator was perfect for this book, spot on! ( )
  MontzaleeW | Jul 24, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Judy Melinekprimary authorall editionscalculated
Mitchell, T. J.main authorall editionsconfirmed
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To Rutka, Tom & Rita and in memory of Frank Cimerol and Dr. Menachem Melinek
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Remember, this can only end badly.
Quotations
The open manhole had a plastic chimney over it, to vent steam from a broken main while Consolidated Edison repaired it. There was an eighteen-foot drop to the boiling water on the bottom of the steam tunnel. The Con Ed supervisor who talked to our MLI at the scene state that it was 300 degrees down there, where Sean Doyle landed. Police and paramedics arrived quickly but couldn’t get Doyle out. They had to wait for Con Ed to shut off the main, and even then it was far too dangerous to send a rescuer into the steam tunnel. Doyle wasn’t dead when the Con Ed workers first arrived, the MLI’s report told me. They said he was arching his back and reaching upward to them. He was screaming.
It took four hours to retrieve the body. The MLI took the corpse’s temperature before bagging him up, as is protocol in a death by hyperthermia. It read 125 degrees, she wrote in her report, “though it was probably more, because the thermometer only goes to 125 degrees.”
Doyle’s body was leathery to the touch, twisted, and glistening with beads of clear water. The outer layer of epidermis was peeling off his hands, feet, shoulders, and legs. His mouth was a black-lined O of burned tissue, his eyes cloudy. Every inch of skin was bright red. The man on my autopsy table had been steamed like a lobster.
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Book description
Just two months before the September 11 terrorist attacks Dr. Judy Melinek began her training as a New York City forensic pathologist. With her husband T.J. and their toddler Daniel holding down the home front, Judy threw herself into the fascinating world of death investigation--performing autopsies, investigating death scenes, counseling grieving relatives.
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"The fearless memoir of a young forensic pathologist's "rookie season" as a NYC medical examiner, and the cases--hair-raising and heartbreaking and impossibly complex--that shaped her as both a physician and a mother. Just two months before the September 11 terrorist attacks, Dr. Judy Melinek began her training as a New York City forensic pathologist. With her husband T.J. and their toddler Daniel holding down the home front, Judy threw herself into the fascinating world of death investigation--performing autopsies, investigating death scenes, counseling grieving relatives. Working Stiff chronicles Judy's two years of training, taking readers behind the police tape of some of the most harrowing deaths in the Big Apple, including a firsthand account of the events of September 11, the subsequent anthrax bio-terrorism attack, and the disastrous crash of American Airlines flight 587. Lively, action-packed, and loaded with mordant wit, Working Stiff offers a firsthand account of daily life in one of America's most arduous professions, and the unexpected challenges of shuttling between the domains of the living and the dead. The body never lies--and through the murders, accidents, and suicides that land on her table, Dr. Melinek lays bare the truth behind the glamorized depictions of autopsy work on shows like CSI and Law & Order to reveal the secret story of the real morgue"--… (more)

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