Types of Equipment Used by Morticians
Ever thought to yourself, what exactly do morticians do? What’s involved in the job? And what equipment goes along with that job?
Well, a mortician is someone who prepares dead bodies for funerals and cremations. This role sees morticians doing a variety of tasks including embalming bodies, putting makeup on them to make them appear presentable for open-casket funerals, and placing the body in a casket.
Embalming bodies is simply the act of preserving them so that they look natural at the funeral. Naturally, dealing with dead bodies is highly sensitive and requires a great deal of skill and cleanliness, which means there is a lot of equipment involved in the process! Here is a list of equipment used by morticians.
Autopsy & Embalming Tables
Probably the number one thing required by morticians is a table. This can’t just be any old table; however- generally, a mortician’s table is made from stainless/surgical grade steel, as it keeps the body cool and is easy to keep germ-free. Tables are necessary to morticians as they are where pretty much everything happens- embalming, dressing the body in clothes, putting the makeup on, and autopsies.
Generally speaking, morticians don’t do autopsies, but sometimes they can be conducted in the funeral home if there is no local coroner’s office. Typically, these tables have usual at one end, so that any blood or fluids can easily be drained during the autopsy and embalming process. They also often have high-pressure water guns attached to them, to help with the cleaning of the table, and can feature anti-rot pipes to ensure that the table is long-lasting.
A mortician cooler is basically a refrigerator for bodies. As funeral homes often take on more than one cadaver at a time, they need a place to store the bodies while they are not working on them, or while they are completed and waiting to go to the funeral. It is imperative to keep the body cool as this helps to stop the process of decomposition, which keeps the body looking fresh and natural before the funeral.
Depending on the funeral home, a cooler can have anywhere from 2 to 8 spaces for cadavers. Obviously, the smaller the funeral home (usually ones in remote areas), the smaller the coolers, as they don’t take on as many clients as bigger funeral homes. Nowadays, most coolers have incredible insulation to maintain a constant temperature, as well as temperature control measures and alarms which will sound if the temperature is compromised.
You might think that embalming the body (preserving it) is only necessary for funerals, but this is not true. Many families, even if the body of their loved one is going to be cremated, will choose a service whereby the family and friends of the deceased can visit the body in the funeral home before its cremation. In this situation, it is also necessary to embalm the body, as loved ones want to see the body as they remember it during the person’s life. Embalming is a lengthy and complicated process, and therefore there is a lot of different types of equipment involved!
The Embalming Process
The process starts by washing the entire body, and massaging it, relax the muscles. This is done with a disinfectant solution to remove any potential germs that are on the body. Once this is done, the mouth and eyes of the deceased are closed. The eyes can be closed either by placing a cap under the eyelid which holds it in place or with a particular type of glue. The mouth is also closed, usually with the same glue, or by sewing it together. There are also plastic ‘formers’ which some morticians use- these go inside the mouth and help to create a more natural expression.
Following this, the blood is then drained from the body using artery tubes. It is replaced with a formaldehyde-based chemical that is mixed specially for each body, and this is pushed into the body which helps to get the blood out. This is because formaldehyde helps to preserve the body, whereas blood will cause the body to rot. A trocar is used to remove any fluid that isn’t blood from other parts of the body, such as the stomach. During this part of the process, other organs are also punctured with a small needle or surgical instrument to let out any gasses that are built up inside of them. These organs also get with the preserving formaldehyde solution, which is pumped into the body with a cavity injector. It can also be done with the traditional, very scary-looking embalming machine, which will do the job automatically rather than manually. An embalming machine also requires a hydro aspirator connected to a series of tubing, which helps to regulate the flow of liquid into the corpse.
The wounds formed during this part of the process are then sutured (stitched up), often with the help of an aneurysm needle, which helps to move any blockages around the suture. It is also used to help get the arteries and veins into an optimal position to be drained.
Beyond this, morticians are usually given clothes by the family, and this is what they use to dress the deceased in. Morticians often also do makeup for the deceased, to make their skin appear more like it would have done when the person was living. The job of the mortician is really to preserve the body and make it look as much as it would have done as it was when it was alive, to comfort the family. Occasionally, this also involves picking out a suitable wig for the corpse to wear, in instances where they may have lost their hair before death. Of course, the range of instruments and equipment used by morticians ranges massively dependent on how the person died; some bodies may require a lot of work to get them looking back to normal, and some will require very little work to look natural (which is usually the case if somebody died of natural causes).
Buying Quality Mortuary Equipment
Slaughter Supply offers mortuary equipment and funeral supplies to professionals around the country. Shop for the best quality mortuary coolers, autopsy tables, body lifts, cadaver carts, and embalming instruments at competitive pricing. Our family has been manufacturing embalming tools for over 100 years. We are continuing the tradition of providing outstanding service and delivering unbeatable supplies to the funeral and mortuary industry.