April 7th, 2007 05:15 EST
Seven thousand people move to Las Vegas every month, and not all of them live, Dr. Gary Telgenhoff said with a smile.
As Clark County, Nev.`s deputy medical examiner, Telgenhoff says he speaks for the dead.
Dressed in a sharp gray suit, he simply introduced himself as Dr. T ". Basically I see dead people, " he explained to students and guests at UCF Monday.
As a forensic pathologist, Dr. T deals with bodies every day.
Anthony Zuiker, CSI: Crime Scene Investigators creator and executive producer, observed Dr. T`s work at a Las Vegas morgue when writing the script for a show. Once CSI took off, Dr. T became the show`s forensics consultant.
Most people get their scientific facts from TV shows, Dr. T said. I make sure those facts are as accurate as possible. "Real CSI`s collect evidence. They gather fingerprints and bullets and take countless photographs. Solving a crime is a team effort.
Real CSI`s do not do most things you see on TV. They do not:
Â· Interview witnessesÂ· Look through microscopes
Â· Do autopsies
Â· Run tests
Â· Solve crimes
Working with dead bodies can be gross, smelly, disgusting and occasionally depressing, Dr. T explained. However, it is fulfilling and important, Dr. T pointed out. Once the family of a victim knows what happened to their loved one, they can grieve properly. Forensic pathologists must also figure out who belongs in prison, and more importantly decide who does not.
Forensic pathologists testify in court, talk to victims` families and work with police. They also determine a victim`s manner of death. Every case must fall into one of five categories: Â· Homicide
You cannot ignore the facts that do not fit, those are the ones that call to you, Dr. T stated. Our biggest enemy is assuming things, " he said. You can really be fooled. "
Forensic pathology is pathology with an emphasis on unnatural death, Dr. T explained. It takes four years of college, four years of medical school, five years of pathology residency and a lifetime of learning. He said, It`s knowing every disease known to man, from yellow fever to breast tumors. It`s a lot of stuff to know, but if I can do it, anyone can. "
Dr. T also plays in a rock band called Skinner Rat. Things he sees in the morgue inspire his songs. They make perfect material for rock and roll music, he said. His song Speak for you " has been featured in an episode of CSI.
Comment on this story, by emailing Judyth Piazza at email@example.com or join the SOP friend network with your Google, Yahoo, AOL, MSN or one ID account located on the front page of http://www.thesop.org.