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22 March 2009 @ 01:26 am
Theatrical Muse: Week 275: Question 275  
Name: Dr. Sid Hammerback

Fandom: CSI: New York

Word Count: 859

"That's why I write, because life never works except in retrospect. You can't control life, at least you can control your version." - Chuck Palahniuk (Stranger Than Fiction: True Stories)

I once worked a case where a child had drowned in a pool after being caught in the massive vacuum created by the device that creeps along the bottom. A normal healthy child may have had a great and fighting chance against this thing, but the kid had been severely ill, and, well, there really wasn’t the chance, nor the strength, to make an escape. Imagine that, parents go out to buy ice cream to make the child feel better, they get home, and their kid is dead. By the time I got to the scene, the eyes were a little cloudy, but still mostly clear, and oh, what a shade of blue they were, what a shade of blue. It briefly made me wonder what my boys must have looked like after being knocked unconscious by falling rubble, or scorched by the flames, but it’s not a matter I like to dwell on at great lengths. My imagination is best served elsewhere, with my work.

It has been said, among the people I have worked with in medicine, those specialists, each with their own little medical niche in the world, that the art of medicine comes from diagnosing someone who so many others have failed at pinpointing the illness of. To put it in simpler words, if someone is sick, and man upon woman upon man upon specialist, simply can not work it out, then the person who does, finds a certain artistic completeness at having solved the puzzle. Just as relevant is the fact that the art of cooking comes from the preparation, the mise en place, that folds seamlessly into well structured and wonderfully presented meal.

While I do not work with the living anymore for a large majority of the time, that is not to say that I have lost the love of the art which initially drew me to this kind of scientific realm of thinking. I may not be diagnosing anything living or active, but to me, to someone like me, my morgue is alive with all this, how can I say it, this grim history. While it may be horrific, while it may make people feel uneasy, I find art in death, in dissecting the body during an autopsy to carve out a cause of why that very person in particular, has ceased living. Whereas my fellows in diagnosing the still breathing are working to find out an active cause of their patient’s illness, I am finding the causal relationship between injury or harm, and the cessation of living.

Like discovering why a person may have a propensity towards heart failure or epileptic fits, any patient history that can be garnered, is often quite helpful. There are some times, although rare, where I may have been about to attribute a murder to a hereditary illness, the knowledge of which pops up at the last minute, and vice verse, from supposed illness to actual homicide. So, it can be seen perhaps, that this where my art lies, not in diagnosing that which is found hard to treat, for death is the single most irreversible of diagnoses, but in find out what causes death, to put an end to all the relevant suspicion. I look back to find out what has caused someone to come to lie on my table, and in reviewing this past, I can better understand the future of the investigation, and the victim themselves. Do I need their liver for analysis? Which funeral home does this woman need to be directed to? How in the world did he or she get a gun injury this severe when the evidence from the CSIs says this and that? And so on and so forth.

There is no harm in looking back on things, on the death of a loved one or the murder of someone you barely know. There is no issue with remembrance that I have, as long as it does not cause the harm of others in infidelity, drunkenness, drugs or rage. There is no art in ignoring what can be made obvious through thorough investigation and a compiled set of knowledge and facts. While I may not be able to control the cause of death in order to make my job easier, and why would I want such an absurd proposition in the first place, I can still control my own set of events, my own inquiry and investigation into death and dying. There, that is my art, one of many ways of explaining it. I look back on death, on its causes and myriad streamlets of information, in order to see what made it happen, maybe even why, and to see that, in the future, my examination is sated of further curiosity by coming to the junction of assurance or conviction. In my own way, in my own role, I review the situation, as much as a man working with a retrospect of events can, to hopefully contribute to a future where that case or this case in particular, can be followed through and closed, with the least possible amount of doubt in hand at the final moments.
Current Mood: sadsad
Current Music: Unforgettable - Nat King Cole