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Post mortems can now be performed by machines

Nov 27 2013 Read 8851 Times

Scalpels are now a thing of the past when it comes to performing post mortem examinations in the UK. BBC News reports that pathologists are now able to use touch screens to perform post mortems, which means they no longer have to perform a hands-on examination.

The new technology is being unveiled at the digital post-mortem examination facility in Sheffield Medico-Legal Centre by Peter Thornton, England and Wales' chief coroner. It has been designed to help reduce stress for families of the diseased, as their relative will not have to be dissected to find cause of death.

Jewish and Islamic residents in the UK have welcomed the introduction of the technology, reports the news provider, as their religion states that bodies should not be violated after death and should undergo a quick burial.

The new system makes use of hi-tech three dimensional imaging software to show pathologists different area of the body in detail. The imaging software is connected to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner or to a computerised tomography (CT). This allows pathologists to zoom in to different areas that they want to study. They are also able to look beneath clothing and tissue, without having to cut the body open.

In England and Wales, around 550,000 deaths are recorded every year, with around 100,000 of those needing a post mortem examination. This is one of the highest rates across the globe, reports the news provider.

Post-mortem examinations tend to cost around £1,000 each, which is usually funded by local authorities. By opting for the post-mortem machines, families are able to choose between a traditional exam without cost or a £500 digital post mortem.  

The next centre that will utilise this new technology is due to open in Bradford in 2014. It is hoped that a further 18 centres that use post mortem machines will be open throughout England and Wales by 2015. 

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