I was watching an episode of CSI: Miami (not by choice, I assure you) and I heard the word "perimortem" come up in the dialogue. Not knowing this word to be common, I decided to node.

As the root of the word (mortem) implies, perimortem (less often spelled peri-mortem) refers to an event that took place at approximately the time of death or an effect of an event that took place near the time of death.

Related terms are postmortem, referring to something that occured after death. And antemortem, which refers to something that occurred before death. Basically, my entire life so far has been antemortem. I sure hope this episode of CSI isn't perimortem. I always figured I die watching something good.

There's a number of terms that include "perimortem" and the following is an oversimplified definition of each of the two phrases I know:

Perimortem trauma
This refers to injuries or trauma that occurred at about the time of death. For example, if a body is stabbed multiple times, each stab wound may exhibit different properties. The first wound, which caused the death of the body, will show signs of bleeding. Perimortem wounds might show no bleeding but would still show pre-postmortem characteristics, such as bruising of the surrounding flesh.

Perimortem trauma is most usually indicated by damage done to the bones. If damage is antemortem then the bones would show signs of healing. If postmortem then the bone wounds exhibit different stains and discolouration due to the state of the (stagnant) blood.

Perimortem trauma is one of the most difficult types of trauma to diagnose. It is often just a process of elimination and a conclusion that is reached when antemortem and postmortem trauma is ruled out.

Perimortem cesarean
This isn't as morbid as it sounds, but it's close.

A perimortem cesarean is an attempt to save the mother or the baby when death of one is imminent. Unfortunately, since the term does contain the root of "mortem", it is only applied after the fact, when Mom or baby has died.

A perimortem cesarean usually occurs when the mother is dying but there is still a chance to save the baby. For example, if the mother suffers a cardiac arrest and her heart stops beating for 3-4 minutes, the emergency room physicians may decide to perform a cesarean section to remove the baby before permanent damage can occur. This diversion of effort can result in an emergency cesarean becoming a perimortem cesarean.

My Mom was a pioneer in the field of forensic investigations

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