In 1989, a new Medical Examiner facility was built utilizing a design concept of a centralized morgue, separating it from other activities of the facility. The work area was developed to promote an easy flow of activity. Instead of a single exam room or a fixed exam table, the area was built utilizing four fixed, wall-mounted stations to which bodies could be transported via portable gurneys. The gurneys are designed to serve as the body transportation table, holding tray and exam table. Using this type of equipment reduces unnecessary movement of the body, thus, diminishing the possibility of employee injury. Additionally, the morgue contains separate morgue suites to accomodate major and biohazardous cases.
All bodies brought to the morgue are received in an area designed to maintain the utmost privacy during transfer. Individual bodies are entered into the office computer system, assigned a unique case number and fitted with identification tags bearing the case number and decedent's name. Two refrigeration units, capable of holding 50 bodies, are designated to hold incoming and completed cases separately as a safeguard to prevent a body from being released prior to examination. Once an examination is complete, the body is released to the family's designated funeral home.
The autopsy examination is accomplished through the teamwork of the Forensic Pathologist and a team of Autopsy Technicians (dierners). A diener assists the pathologist with photography, radiographic exams, measurements, procurement of biological samples, evidence packaging and documentation, and release of examined bodies to funeral homes, among other responsibilities. Dieners are tasked also with keeping the morgue areas clean and stocked with adequate supplies.
In order to preserve evidentiary integrity, each piece of evidence collected by or submitted to the Medical Examiner’s Office for processing is coupled with a detailed chain-of-custody log. To ensure the chain-of-custody is maintained correctly, and that all evidence is handled, cared for and stored properly, forensic technicians with expertise in evidentiary preservation are utilized.
Rufus Glynn Dill began his employment with the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office as a Forensic Autopsy Technician in 1999. He served as a Senior Forensic Autopsy Technician prior to his advancement to Director of Morgue & Laboratory Services in 2021. He is a veteran of the United States Navy and received his training at the Naval School of Health Sciences. His service included Portsmouth Naval Hospital in Virginia, Fleet Hospital Five located in Al Jabal, Saudi Arabia during Desert Storm, and National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland as a Hospital Corpsman.
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