November 2021

Page A16 NOVEMBER 2021 FUNERAL HOME & CEMETERY NEWS Se c t i on A Visit our website to access dedicated resources to support children that are grieving and connect to local support.  Working to ensure no child grieves alone. By Wally Hooker, CFSP, MBIE Looking back over the past 30 years, it gives me pause to see just how far we have advanced in the proper care of tissue donation cases. If you’ve been involved in funer- al service for 25-30 years, you were some of the pioneers who were suddenly faced with invasively recovered bodies, something we had not seen or been trained to properly em- balm and treat. Fortunately, most of us had a good relation- ship with our chemical reps and company experts, who we relied on for updated guidance and proper chemical treat- ment. However, this type of invasive recovery even caught the chemical companies off guard. They were scrambling as well to develop a plan or protocol of proper treatment. It became a work in progress as we developed a pro- cess that worked. As time moved on, we would gain more information for proper treatment and we would become more proficient…and then, bam! The OPOs would send yet another challenge we hadn’t seen. Soon the proper handling of these cases was addressed in mortuary science programs, and well-known embalm- ing presenters were delivering the message on proper em- balming protocols. One of the issues – which is still an issue today – is that many practitioners do not attend con-ed and don’t avail themselves of the modern tech- niques and improvements in chemicals and sundry items. It seems some have little motivation to learn or under- stand…they prefer to complain to all who will listen. Many practitioners were conscientious and became ad- ept in preparing and presenting these bodies in open cas- kets, seemingly trouble free. The primary challenge was preventing unsightly leakage from full thickness recov- eries. At the time, we were relegated the dreaded plastic garments, or unionalls, for the prevention of leakage onto clothing or casket interiors. (Unionalls have always been just one final tug away from being ripped! We’ve all been there.) Just as some embalmers became proficient, there were those who thought a simple embalming, dressed in plastics and filled with powder, would be the cure-all. Boy, were they (and are they) playing with fire! As we look at embalming these remains, the pre-case analysis is still of utmost importance to guide us in achiev- ing a well-embalmed body. We must also visually observe and assess recovered areas and develop our plan of attack. Over the years I’ve heard embalmers say, “I never open the recovered areas. I just embalm as usual, and let the leg and arms fill with arterial solution, because that will treat that area. Following embalming I just as- pirate the chemical out and dress in plastic.” I’m not sure if someone actually told them that, or if it’s just laziness. Either way this is a big mistake. The vascular system will more than likely be compromised by the recovery proce- dure, so deep tissue will not be embalmed. Arterial solutions may change the color of the tissue it comes in contact with, but it certainly does not treat the tissue or the deep tissue. With families looking at convenience instead of timeli- ness, visitations and funerals are often delayed for weeks. This lazy lack of treatment can lead to decomposition of the tissue inside the plastic garments, resulting in offensive odors coming from the casket. Those offensive odors can lead to unhappy families, lawsuits and damage to your rep- utation. All can be avoid- ed with proper treatment. Let’s look at the embalm- ing and treatment of the legs ( Figure 1) with long bone, tendon and vessel recovery. Figure 2 is an ex- ample of the leg, pre-treat- ment. You can observe the bright color and moisture present. Many will debate, pre- or post-embalming treatment with a cauterizing agent. My preference is to use an embalming gel (I achieve great results using a hexaphene- based product) liberally over the raw internal tissue (Figure 3) as well as over the outer skin. Then I cover with Webril cotton, and cover tightly with plastic. Covering tightly with plastic will aid the gel treat- ment by containing the fumes and keep- ing the strong fumes away from the em- balmer. This will give your topical treatment Embalming 101 time to work as you proceed with your arterial injection (Figure 4) . Hexaphene gel is very effective in treating raw tissue. If liberally applied and wrapped in plastic, it will completely embalm/treat the tissue and remove moisture in 24 hours or less. It’s a staple in my embalming room; I wouldn’t want to operate without. Don’t expect much arterial embalming to occur in the legs, buttocks and genitalia. These areas should be treat- ed by embalming gels or by hypo injection of a strong cauterant. If your choice is cavity fluid, I suggest cutting it 50/50 with a co-injection fluid. The strength of cavity fluid alone can cause the tissue to wall off and prevent diffusion. In taking these extra steps we are working to ensure problems don’t present themselves later. Following the arterial injection, you may find the leg cavity has filled with arterial solution. Remove the flu- id, dry the area and check tissue for the progress of the treatment. You may want to add additional gel. I like to allow 12 to 24 hours for the embalming gel to thor- oughly treat the tissue. Before closing the leg, I dry the tissue again for good measure. Around the prosthetic in the leg, I use an ab- sorbent sheet material available from chemical compa- nies. I use enough of the absorbent sheets to refill the leg to the appropriate size and secure to the prosthesis with zip ties. I add absorbent autopsy compound to the bottom of leg as one more level of prevention. I begin suturing tightly, starting at the foot. I find locking gathering forceps are great aid for closing do- nor and autopsy cases. (Figure 5) They take the fatigue of keeping the lig- ature tight during lengthy suturing. To some this may sound like overkill, but it takes just one disaster in a career to remind us to not take short cuts! Next month we’ll continue to discuss further treatment of donor cases. Until then, be safe and wash your hands! Dealing with Donor Cases Part 3: Preparation of Recovered/Donor Bodies Wallace P. (Wally) Hooker CFSP, MBIE, is the owner, funeral direc- tor and embalmer of Family & Friends Funeral Home of Wingate, IN. He and his wife, Janet designed, established and built their funeral home in 2004. Wally is a graduate of Worsham College of Mortuary Science, where he serves on the Advisory Board. He is Past President of the Indiana Funeral Directors Association and board member of North American Division of the British Institute of Embalmers. In ad- dition, he has served as chief deputy coroner/investigator of Fountain County, IN for the last 24 years. F U N E R A L H O M E & C E M E T E R Y N E W S w w w . N o m i s P u b l i c a t i o n s . c o m Monthly Columns online at Fig. 3 Fig. 4 Fig. 5 Fig. 1 Fig. 2 PERRYSBURG,OH— A lot happens in fifty years. In 1971, Walt Disney World Theme Park opened up. The top song on the radio was Joy to the World by Three Dog Night. Time Maga- zine’s Man of the Year was Rich- ard Nixon. The Monopoly board game retailed for $3.99. And also in 1971, fifty years ago, Karen Goodwin first joined the team at Restlawn Memorial Park. “My friend and I were out shop- ping, and we ran into an acquain- tance who mentioned that Rest- lawn Memorial Park was hiring, and so I applied,” Goodwin re- calls. “Who would have thought back in 1971 that I would end up being here for fifty years. Once I hit the thirty five-year mark, it be- came a personal goal of mine to make it to the fifty year mark.” And make it she did. Septem- ber 29, 2021 marked the 50 th anniversary of Goodwin’s em- ployment with Restlawn Memo- rial Park. Her colleagues rang in this tremendous milestone occa- sion with an outdoor luncheon. “It was really very nice,” Good- win shares. “It was under a tent; the weather was perfect with a nice breeze.” Karen Goodwin Celebrates Fifty Years at Restlawn Memorial Park By Laurie Esposito-Harley Karen Goodwin has meant so much to us. No matter what was happening, she has always had the in- terests of Restlawn and the families we serve at the forefront.” So, what has kept Goodwin sticking around for fifty years? “I like the job,” Goodwin shares. “I find it interesting. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” Goodwin’s colleagues marked the occasion by presenting flow- ers, a plaque, a glass desk orna- ment, a watch, and a little some- thing else that Goodwin had been requesting for some time. “A new printer!” Goodwin states enthusiastically. “I had been wanting my own for my office for quite a while.” As Administrator, Goodwin has kept things running smoothly be- hind the scenes at Restlawn Me- morial Park this past half-century by handling a myriad of adminis- trative duties including oversight on contracts and payments and helping out the sales team and grounds crew as needed. “This doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the incred- ible value that Goodwin brings as a team member,” according to Restlawn Memorial Park Director of Operations, Jason Bonomo. “I don’t even know where to be- gin,” Bonomo continues. “Kar- en is just so terrific, very dedicat- ed, such an amazingly wonderful and loyal employee. Ownership has changed a few times during her tenure, most recently 20 years ago, so having her on the team as this stable and consistent force Continued on page A17