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How To Dispose Of A Corpse

4485 words - 18 pages

Life always ends in death. Death is something most people do not like to think about but is inevitable. Other people give extensive thought and planning into what will actually happen to their mortal body. As long as we live, difficult decisions and choices must be made; even what we want to happen to our bodies after we die. Societies no longer just bury or cremate; corpuses are preserved, reused, and recycled. The United States of America as well as other countries offers traditional, unorthodox, and unusual disposal options which are influenced by culture, religion, or cost factors.
For centuries, other cultures have tried to preserve their dead. The Egyptians were the first know society to preserve their dead through embalming techniques (“Brief,” par 2). After the collapse of the Egyptian society there were few reports of embalming (2). European Catholic dignitaries, monarchs, and aristocrats first used funeral embalming techniques in the 13th century to transport mortal bodies across long distances (Pascale and Lemonnier, 9). . The mortal bodies were filled with expensive scented herbs that had antiseptic qualities (10). It was not until the Civil War during 1860 that embalming the dead was practiced in the United States (“Brief,” par 7). Today, in the 21st century, this popular and traditional choice is made by most United States citizens. In our egotistical society, the cost of $500 to $1,200 is paid without hesitation to ensure we still look presentable for our last gathering with friends and family.
However, most people do not want to know details beyond cost or think about the actual embalming process. Funeral embalming preserves a corpse from decomposition so it can be displayed with dignity in funeral homes and for the purpose of hygiene control. Temporary preservation and full embalmment are the two types of embalming methods (“Other,” par 6). To prevent leakage both embalming methods require all cavities to be plugged with wadding. The temporary method simply and quickly rids the body of fluids, replaces blood with preservation fluids through the torso using a trocar tool. This method will preserve the body for a few weeks. Full embalming is more complicated and will preserve the body for about 100 years. The torso is cut open and all organs (to include the brain) are removed. The organs are dismembered with scissors or knives, and then dried with a preserving power. The preserving powder is spread into the empty torso and the organs are put back inside before the body sewn back together (9). After completing the embalming process the body is cleaned, groomed, and clothed, making it ready for display and to be transported to the gravesite. Natural burial would be chosen if more people knew the gruesome details of embalming.
The validity of embalming is questionable. Embalming is not a legal requirement and requires the loved ones permission. The United States is the only country where embalming is...

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