One of my favorite parts of my job is my interaction with the police and paramedics who visit the department. Paramedics are obviously there all the time, but whenever the police are there, it’s always something fairly interesting. It’s my chance to see inside the officers daily lives from the “other side”, as opposed to side that’s sitting behind the wheel pulled over on the side of the freeway.

So I’m sitting there, minding my own (medical) business, when a police officer pulls up a seat next to me and says, “Hey doc, I got a favor to ask.” He is holding a piece of dirt covered newspaper in his left hand and has a look of anticipatory concern on his face. He continues his story… “A local landscaper was digging up a yard when he uncovered this…” He reached over with his right hand and began unwrapping the object. Inside the dirt covered newspaper was an old, dried, yellowish bone. Long and thin with a hollow triangular protuberance on one end, a half twist and a flat blade on the other. I immediately recognized it as exactly one half of a pubic bone.

He looked me straght in the eye. “I need you to tell me doc, could this have come from a person?”

“I’m 103% sure that that is not a human bone.” He looked relieved adn quickly set the bone down, grabbed his obligatory police officer spiral mini notebook, looked at my nametag and jotted down my name.

I picked it up, flipped it over and turned it around and held it in front of me in an anatomical position. It was a little awkward to be talking about pelvic bone structure with a (cute) police officer who was just trying to make sure I hadn’t just grabbed a piece of evidence in a murder investigation. I described the structure of the piece and outlined it’s imaginary other half, explaining that it must have come from an animal that walks on four legs and not two.

He smiled. “I just didn’t want to have to call homicide this late on a Friday night.”