Judy Melinek has made a career of working with dead bodies. As a forensic pathologist, she has probed and prodded bodies for clues that may reveal murder, suicide, a medical accident or a rare genetic disease. In her book “Working Stiff,” Melinek chronicles her two rookie years working in the New York Medical Examiner’s office, a job she started two months before the 9/11 attacks. Melinek, now based in San Francisco, joins us to talk about a career straddling medicine and law.

Judy Melinek, forensic pathologist, associate clinical professor UCSF Medical School and author of "Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner"

  • Hearing Judy speak on the topic of suicide and death conjured decade old emotions that I felt concerning my mother’s suicide; Emotions that I did not share with others until many years later but once I did, I was able to process it and heal. Thank you for this story.

  • Jon Gold

    Question…do you witness the change in a body from life to death!? Do you believe there’s a soul or spirit?

  • puzzled_in_palo_alto

    The deaths of Robin Williams and James Brady (President Reagan’s press secretary) have brought forensic pathology into public discussion. Please explain why the manner of death for Jim Brady was classified as a homicide.

  • Amy Rogers

    What an eloquent woman. Loved her book WORKING STIFF.

  • Annonymous

    i can’t believe she said she’s leery of cats. what a stupid thing to say. I really, really don’t believe she saw pets eating their guardians dead bodies. My rescued cat is very particular about what he eats. There are no known cases where a domestic cat killed or seriously harmed a human. You are more likely to get shot by a deranged person than eaten by a kitty.

  • Bill Adams

    Forensics is a fascinating field where the patient (victim) cannot reply to yet-to-be answered questions. These must be posed and clues gathered by the forensic scientist and her/his most plausible responses as well as the evidence brought to light.

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