April 2021

Page A16 APRIL 2021 FUNERAL HOME & CEMETERY NEWS Se c t i on A Funeral Directors Research,Inc. AMRA INSTRUMENT, LLC 623 N. Tower (P.O. Box 359) Centralia, WA 98531 “the shorter the supply line the better off you are” WEB DIRECT GIFT & PRICING TM ® www.amrainstruments.com www.preproomdirect.com By Wally Hooker, CFSP, MBIE We are going to devote a few articles to “tips & tech- niques” for soft tissue repair and reconstructive work. Fo- cusing primarily on the face and head, following trau- matic injury deaths as well as debilitating digression by disease. It’s helpful to keep in mind when reconstructing serious physical trauma…the chances of us presenting a perfect looking body is very slim. A personal/professional road-block, as we spend hours and hours working on and looking at a damaged area of the face…we become “in- timate” with that face. By that I mean, we see every flaw, we know what material is there and more times than not we are not pleased with our efforts. It’s OK to have a dis- criminating eye! As professional embalmers, don’t we pull out all the stops and work to achieve perfection? However, perfec- tion is elusive! Our ultimate goal is to return the physi- cally disfigured back to their families for a proper good- bye…with an open casket! While perfection is normally not achievable, acceptable results are. Acceptable for open casket viewing refers to the physical features being pres- ent and in the correct proportion, with pores, imperfec- tions, natural scars, the proper coloring/tint and not look over cosmetized. That’s a tall order. Remember, someone said goodbye, left their family and didn’t return…it’s in- cumbent upon us to do the best we can, so families can view their loved one, regardless of what a coroner, ME, or law enforcement official may have told the family at the notification of death. Funeral service doesn’t shine brighter than when, what was thought impossible was overcome by our ability, talent and resolve for families. Nearly 30 years ago, when I was “green as grass” (accord- ing to my boss at the time). I was in awe of two gentle- men who were writing articles and presenting lectures on embalming and facial reconstruction. To me, they were the “rock stars” of embalming. Yet their humility and their ability to clearly share their talent and experiences shaped my future and gave me the confidence to often go where others wouldn’t. I received a great education from Worsham College , however, more than likely, if it weren’t for Vernie Fountain and Jack Adams , I wouldn’t have line, there is great interest by newly licensed professionals wishing to become proficient in reconstructive work. I think this is an admirable goal! When I have the oppor- tunity to visit with these folks, I am interested to listen and ask questions of their thoughts. It’s great to hear their enthusiasm and I enjoy sharing my experiences, tips and techniques…that is where we are headed now. Rule #2 Before beginning any reconstructive efforts, you must have firm dry tissue . The foundation on which you build must be trouble free! This starts with a good thorough embalming as well as post embalming treatment. You must be a proficient embalmer before you can become a “pro” at reconstructive work. For treating and drying open sores or wounds, use a cauterizing chemical, post embalming. Place a generous application on the wound, then cover with plastic to ensure good contact and pen- etration. I would suggest covering the surrounding tis- sue with massage cream first, to protect it from bleaching from your cauterizing chemical. Many of these cauterants work rather quickly, often less than 30 minutes. Also, loose, dehydrated or jagged, torn skin edges should be excised and the margins treated with a cauterant to dry and keep the edges from leaking. Moisture will challenge the effectiveness of restorative waxes and artificial skin products. If the damaged tissue is not completely treated and the area isn’t dry, you will need to re-treat the problem area. It may require subdural injection of your choice of cau- terant to completely dry the area. Taking short cuts is a recipe for disaster. Next month we will go into depth on various products and techniques in overcoming missing tissue and fea- tures. Until then be safe out there! accomplished much of what I have proudly done in the prep room throughout my career. I still have 25-year-old hand- outs from both of their lectures. Over the years they were never too busy to take a call from me, listen to me and offer technical advice. The reason I share this, is to encourage you to have mentors you trust for advice. There are many in our profession willing to assist you by consulting and offering advice. I believe it is important to attend technical seminars, attend on-site hands-on training, become a sponge and soak up all you can. Interacting with other professionals is also important…we all have our successes as well as failures…we can always learn from each other! Still after all these years, I enjoy attending seminars, exchanging ideas with colleagues and I always pick up a new tip or two. Rule #1 For any case requiring significant reconstructive efforts, don’t be overwhelmed by your first glance. Over the years many embalmers have thrown in the towel pre-maturely not attempting reconstructive work for fear of failure or just be- ing overwhelmed. Nearly each of these cases that come into our care will still be ‘soiled’ by the event that caused their death – torn tissue, blood, dried blood, fractured bones, protruding bones, missing tissue, perhaps dicing and broken glass imbedded, powder burns, etc. Start by gently cleaning the area. This will allow you to better analyze what you are up against. I suggest using a 50/50 mixture of humectant/ water conditioner, to soften the blood and debris to cleanse the damaged area. You can follow up with lukewarm water and prep-soap. The cleansing will allow you to better look at the injuries/damage and remaining features. You will be able to analyze the situation, systematically, in smaller steps… not the entire picture if you will. Take a step back to focus and concentrate on the remaining “known features.” Allow these remaining features to be your benchmark or guide to begin your reconstructive work. As always, a recent photo is an added benefit. A keen eye and understanding of the anat- omy of the face is all important in reconstructive work. As I travel the country attending various association con- ventions, lecturing at mortuary colleges, and reading on- FUNERAL HOME & CEMETERY NEWS www.nomispublications.com Monthly Columns online at Wallace P. (Wally) Hooker CFSP, MBIE, is the owner, funeral direc - tor and embalmer of Family & Friends Funeral Home of Wingate, IN. He and his wife, Janet designed, established and built their funeral home in 2004. Wally is a graduate of Worsham College of Mortuary Science, where he serves on the Advisory Board. He is Past President of the Indiana Funeral Directors Association and board member of North American Division of the British Institute of Embalmers. In ad - dition, he has served as chief deputy coroner/investigator of Fountain County, IN for the last 24 years. Embalming 101 Soft Tissue Repair/Facial Reconstructive Tips & Techniques Service Corporation International to become Donate Life America Partner National Mortuary Shipping and Cremation announces the Promotion of Kahlen M. Knapik to Vice President HOUSTON,TX— Service Corporation Internation- al (NYSE: SCI), and its brand, Dignity Memorial®, is partnering with Donate Life America (DLA) to save lives through organ, eye and tissue donation. The company will become an official partner of Donate Life America with a $250,000 donation. “Our company has long advocated for organ, eye and tissue donation, and many of our Dignity Memorial lo- cations have long-standing relationships with Donate Life affiliates in our respective communities,” said Jay Waring , SCI Chief Operating Officer. “Our mission is to celebrate the significance of life, with every detail re- membered, and we are honored to partner with Donate Life America’s vision to increase the number of donated organs, eyes and tissues available to save and heal lives through transplantation.” For the past 13 years, Dignity Memorial has been a spon- sor of the Donate Life Rose Parade® Float. The company has honored the lives of 58 remarkable organ and tissue donors through “floragraphs,” portraits made of floral and natural materials, which are placed on the Donate Life float entry produced by the OneLegacy Foundation in the annual Tour- nament of Roses Parade. For families who participate in this program, it is an indescribable experience which often pro- vides hope, healing and comfort in their grief journey. “SCI has been a long-time supporter of the Donate Life mis- sion, and we applaud their commitment to honoring the gift of donation and caring for donor families,” says DLA Presi- dent and CEO, David Fleming . “We are thrilled to welcome them as a new Donate Life Premier Partner and look forward to working together to promote organ, eye and tissue dona- tion to its affiliates, associates, clients and communities.” CLEVELAND , OH— National Mortuary Ship- ping and Cremation (NMS) is excited to an- nounce the promotion of Kahlen M. Knapik to vice president. This promotion reflects Kahlen’s steadfast devotion to the funeral in- dustry and his wide-rang- ing impact on NMS, where he has been essential in building and fostering partnerships with funeral directors and industry pro- fessionals across the coun- try. In his new role, Kahlen Kahlen M. Knapik and CEO, to guide the future growth of NMS and build on the company’s reputa- tion for excellence in the industry. Kahlen has been with NMS since 2001, when he began his career as a runner and crematory operator. During this time, he obtained his bachelor’s degree in business and went on to earn his mortuary science degree from the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science, graduating summa cum laude and earning the prestigious Mu Sig- ma Alpha award, a recognition designated by the National Association of Colleges of Mortuary Science. Throughout his 20-year career at NMS, Kahlen has worked in many different ar- eas of the company and held roles such as shipping specialist, business development manager, embalmer, and AIC funeral di- rector. He is a licensed funeral director and embalmer in the state of Ohio and a member of many industry organizations. Kahlen currently serves on the convention committee of the Ohio Funeral Directors Association. “I am honored and really excited for this opportunity, and I hope I can do as much for NMS and the funeral industry as it has done for me,” Kahlen stated. “I am truly blessed to be part of the NMS family, and I look forward to continuing the NMS tradition of helping Hometown funeral directors from around the world with out- of-town deaths.” Donate Life America is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organiza- tion leading its national part- ners and Donate Life State Teams to increase the num- ber of donated organs, eyes and tissues available to save and heal lives. DLA man- ages and promotes Donate Life ℠ , the national brand for the cause of donation; motivates the public to reg- ister as organ, eye and tissue donors; provides education about living donation; man- ages the National Donate Life Registry at RegisterMe. org ; and develops and exe- cutes effective multi-media campaigns to promote dona- tion. For more information, visit www.DonateLife.net . will work closely with An- gie Berwald, president