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Medisense reads... Past Mortems

If you're looking for something to read while you lounge in the sun, check out our review of Carla Valentine's Past Mortems! Perhaps your next summer read?

Carla Valentine is a qualified Mortician and the Technical Curator of a Victorian Pathology Museum, but is perhaps best known as the ‘chick’ behind the hugely popular Instagram account @remains2beseen, now @chickandthedead and @carlavalentineuk. This book (published in the US as The Chick and The Dead) tells the story of a side of medicine we often forget – what goes on behind the doors of the mortuary.

Valentine’s personal story (including a stint in a convent!) is woven into her account of a fascinating career, with glimpses into the funeral industry, organ donation and the ‘Forensic Response Team’ that provided mass fatality investigation in the wake of the 2005 London bombings. There are, of course, some difficult passages – both personal and professional challenges – but overall, Past Mortems is a whirlwind of education and intrigue, especially for those with a morbid curiosity.

For the general public, Valentine offers a ‘glimpse behind the curtain’ to a taboo area in society. For the medically-minded, she encourages appreciation of pathology professionals and perhaps a widening of perspective on death and decomposition. For almost anyone, Past Mortems is certainly an unusual read!

Guest Blog: Jess Leighton, 12.07.2019


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