Still Lips Still Whisper

Meet Dr. Michael Graham, the city medical examiner. He hears dead people.

A workman hangs up harvest gold curtains that flank the ID window. Once again, they've been torn down by a grieving family member.

On the second floor, away from the coolers and autopsy rooms, Turner's son sits on a couch in her office, sitting out a day of school because he didn't feel well.

Rose Psara, the chief investigator, gets ready to pick up her daughter from day care at lunchtime.

Jennifer Silverberg
The main autopsy room in the medical examiner's office. Each bed has its own exhaust fan and drainage tray. The scales behind the bed weigh organs.
Jennifer Silverberg
The main autopsy room in the medical examiner's office. Each bed has its own exhaust fan and drainage tray. The scales behind the bed weigh organs.

Down the hall, Burch talks about his fascination with the Civil War, then is interrupted by a phone call. Only Burch's end of the conversation is audible.

"One gunshot wound. Right temple, consistent with suicide."

Randy Hays, an investigator with the office for about 20 years, arrives to cover the four to midnight shift. Many of the employees have already left, so he'll be alone tonight, except for the small group of dead in the cooler.

Hays is settling in to his desk, ready to answer phone calls from homicide, his black bag primed and ready to head out to a crime scene. His computer is on.

As he sorts through phone messages, the chief investigator tells him about a body that will be coming in later that evening from a rural doctor. Hays needs to mark the body carefully because it is a possible meningitis case.

Around the corner, Graham sits in his office, large St. Louis Blues banners hanging from his bookshelves. Graham's a huge hockey fan, and the banners were a gift from his staff.

Outside his office door, Graham's secretary, Mary Kennedy, sits at her desk typing out death certificates.

Most of the time, the office quietly hums.

Four teenage girls, eighth graders from Ladue, sit in Graham's office. They've come downtown to ask him about his work as a medical examiner. The girls are in a gifted student program for kids interested in medicine. They've come to find out about forensic pathology

He patiently answers the same questions he gets asked over and over.

"What kinds of cases are the most disturbing?"

Graham has a well-worn answer: "children and the elderly. Both groups are defenseless."

Yet working with them, "doesn't bother me day to day."

When asked what is the most emotionally and mentally draining aspect of his job, listening to the dead, examining their bodies, probing their minds, don't make the list.

This does: "When my desk is stacked with files."

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
7
 
8
 
All
 
My Voice Nation Help
0 comments
 
St. Louis Concert Tickets
Loading...