Interview: Forensic pathologist Pétur Gudmann Gudmannsson

    Business Spotlight Audio 1/2024
    Pétur Gudmann Gudmannsson selfie in the lab
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    Von Rachel Preece

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    Are you a fan of crime dramas and true crime series? These films and programmes usually feature sb.jmdn. zeigenfeature forensic pathologists who do autopsies and tests on bodyhier: Leichebodies to determine the cause of people’s death. Business Spotlight correspondent Rachel Preece spoke to Iceland’s only full-time pathologist about the the ins and outsdie Besonderheitenins and outs of his job. Here’s an extract from the interview.

    Rachel Preece: What aspects of your job do you find most interesting?

    Pétur Gudmann Gudmannsson: I am very interested in anatomy and how things are put together and how they look — morphology. This is the centre of our work. It’s the morphology, the appearance of things. And that is always the groundGrundlageground for our interpretation. So, I like delve into sth.sich eingehend mit etw. befassendelving into this, working with my hands. I think this is pretty underestimated nowadays with so much computer-oriented work and so on. And I also like language. I’m very interested in words and language, and how we put them together, and how we can make clever sentences and so on. And that’s exactly what we try to do with our reports. That’s the product of our work. We don’t heal disease. We usually don’t solve crimes, but we are very strict in being objective, and we don’t take sidesPartei ergreifentake sides. The material I have — it’s dead and static. It’s just a picture. But what I am trying to figure sth. out (ifml.)etw. herausfindenfigure out is a process, a happening.

    Rachel: Are you very busy?

    Pétur: Oh, yeah. Yeah, I mean we have 260 cases a year. We have some living cases also because we investigate sth.etw. untersucheninvestigate the injuryVerletzunginjuries in living people in regards to like assaulttätlicher Angriffassaults and abusefMissbrauchabuse. And then there is also a lot of work building up the system we want to have here regarding the investigations and making protocols and so on. So, that’s like a side jobNebentätigkeit, -jobside job for me, also. So, yeah, there is a lot to do, and I try to be available also for the police if something happens.

    Rachel: Iceland is a popular tourist destination, but it can also be a dangerous place to visit. Do you deal with a lot of tourist deaths?

    Pétur: Yeah, of course. Iceland’s nature is very popular and appealingattraktiv, reizvollappealing, and it’s also dangerous — the sea and cliffs and ice and body of waterGewässerbodies of water. Of course, the roads: the roads aren’t great, so there are lots of road traffic accidents, but not so many deaths this year. I think only three, perhaps. It is not many compared to other years, but other accidents are pretty frequent, so we are quite used to dealing with tourists’ accidental death, and of course, also natural death because some tourists are pretty old and not very well, and they die here just as they would have done if they hadn’t come here. But the hundreds of thousands of tourists — it has an impactAuswirkungimpact on our everyday also.

    Rachel: Thank you so much for time and for speaking to me.

    Pétur: Thanks so much.

    Rachel: Thank you. Bye-bye.

    Pétur: OK. Bye-bye.


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