- once the body is released for embalming by the doctor or medical examiner’s office, the embalmer is called to remove the body. Paperwork is filled out and the body is transported to the funeral home for embalming, if requested or required (not all states, areas require embalming)
- an embalming report is filled out and any personal items are noted, such as jewelry; details about any marks, bruises, etc. on the body are noted; any the embalming process and any chemicals used are documented
- all clothing, bandages, IV’s, etc. are removed and a strong disinfectant spray is used to clean the eyes, mouth, skin, and other orifices. If rigor mortis (the stiffening of muscles after death) has set in, it is relieved by moving the limbs and head about and massaging the muscles. If the decedent is a man, he is normally shaved at this point. Razor burn (yes, not even death can save you from this) is less likely before the arterial chemical firms the skin of the face. Even women and children are shaved to remove the fine “peach fuzz” we all have on our faces. This is done to avoid the makeup from collecting on the hair and making the makeup more noticeable.
2. Feature setting
- the process of placing the facial features and the body itself in the position it will remain in the casket for viewing. This is done before arterial embalming, because the body will be truly “set” – firmed in position once formaldehyde reaches the tissues
- Great care is taken to close the eyes. The traditional method for doing this involves placing a bit of cotton between the eye and eyelid. Many times after death the eyes sink back into their sockets, so small plastic “eye caps” are placed on each eye ball. A small amount of stay creme is placed on the eyecap to avoid dehydration of the eyelids - they are sometimes glued shut but are never sewn shut
- The mouth is closed either by tying the jaw together with a piece of suture string or by a special injector gun - To finish closing the mouth, many times a mouth former is used, which is similar to an eyecap as it has a textured side that grips the lips, but it is shaped like the mouth. A small amount of stay creme is also used on the mouth to avoid dehydration and help hold the lips in place.
3. Arterial Embalming
- Arterial embalming is begun by injecting embalming fluid into an artery while the blood is drained from a nearby vein or from the heart. The two gallons or so needed is usually a mixture of formaldehyde or other chemical and water. Chemicals are also injected by syringe into other areas of the body.
- Once the embalming fluid begins to flow into the arterial system, pressure begins to build up in the entire vascular system. This helps the fluid reach all parts of the body and penetrate into the tissues. Evidence of this can be seen in bulging veins throughout the body. The jugular drain tube is opened periodically (it is normally closed) to allow blood to escape and prevent too much pressure in the vascular system which could cause swelling.
- Once arterial injection has been completed, the arterial and jugular tubes are removed, the vessels are tied closed, and the incision used to access the vessels is sutured closed and sealed with a special chemical.
4. Cavity Embalming
- Cavity treatment starts with aspirating (suctioning) fluids out of the internal organs in the abdomen and thoracic cavity, using a trocar. The embalmer uses it to puncture the stomach, bladder, large intestines, and lungs. Gas and fluids are withdrawn before “cavity fluid” (a stronger mix of formaldehyde) is injected into the torso. The anus and vagina may be packed with cotton or gauze to prevent seepage if necessary. (A close-fitting plastic garment may also be used.) (this only applies to bodies that have not been autopsied)
The body and hair are washed once more to remove any blood or chemicals and then thoroughly dried; restorations are done now, such as rebuilding features, masking sores or abrasions, etc. Makeup gets applied to the face, neck, and hands. The fingernails are trimmed. The hair is styled, either by the embalmer or by a professional hairdresser or barber.
The remains are dressed in the outfit chosen by the family.
The body is placed into the casket and posed in the proper position. The family normally views the body at this point and decides on any changes that need to be made. During the viewing period (which can sometimes last for several days) the embalmer will periodically check the body for signs of decomposition and takes any corrective action.
The Handy Body Lifter!
(The Undertakers’ Supply Co. 19-?)
Reblogging myself because this image is glorious. (Wait, what- myself? Yes, I have this other blog over there I haven’t really done much of anything with but you all should follow it all the same.)