The morgue and autopsy room at the Franciscan Medical Center are on the first floor, hidden behind a door which is marked simply CONFERENCE ROOM--PRIVATE. The reasons why it's kept hidden are obvious. This was the first morgue I had ever been in, and I was looking forward to the experience in a morbid sort of way. The Franciscan's morgue didn't disappoint.
Here you see the cooler itself, where the bodies were stored. I thought there would be more than four slots, but the hospital was never in the business of storing bodies for any length of time. They were picked up fairly regularly and taken to the city morgue or a funeral home, so the hospital didn't need any more than four slabs. According to the guard, there was once a mechanical body mover in this room, but it had been sold at auction.
Between the morgue and the outside hallway is the autopsy room, where the medical examiner did his work. In the center of the room is a gleaming stainless steel table with a drain in the center. The M.E. stood behind it to perform autopsies, recording his report using pedals and a hanging microphone. He could take organs out and place them in a chest level tray. The whole thing had obviously been cleaned and sterilized many times, but it was still sort of creepy--especially when we looked in the drain and saw hair and unidentifiable gunk down there. The drainage tube from the organ tray had once been clear plastic but was now caked orangish-brown. A sink at the head of the table had dual garbage disposals, which is something you probably don't even want to think about.
The cabinets in the autopsy room were nearly empty, but we did find a couple of autopsy implements still on a shelf. There were two thick needles for sewing incisions back up, a strainer-scooper, and a hand-held bonesaw. On the wall was a chalkboard for recording examination data.
This was definitely the most fascinating part of the tour. Not many people end up in one of these rooms willingly. In spite of the apparent sterility of the place, none of us wanted to touch anything.
Click below to continue the tour and take a look at the haunted places in the Franciscan.