Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Virtual Autopsy in Hamilton County ?
You might have seen it in CSI but, actually none of the cities the shows are set in actually have the technology. It's not exactly new, it's been bobbling around for maybe 10 years. Most of the leadership in the field seems to be coming from Europe but Hamilton County Coroner, Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco is pushing for it right here. In an interview on Newsmakers, Dan Hurley brought up that she was involved with folks in dead Los Angeles in setting up a system there.
A virtual autopsy uses a CT scanner to make a 3D model of the body avoiding invasion of the actual body. This may be handy for folks who oppose post mortem dissection on religious grounds but it more likely will aid in typical autopsies by guiding the coroner in his operations, resulting in more efficient operations and preserving evidence that might be ruined when cutting blindly into the cadaver. It also generates a permanent file of the body prior to burial & subsequent decomposition. This can save time & money & dubious results from exhuming the corpse at a later date.
The CGI image is also less jarring to the juror than photographs of the actual cadaver thus giving the juror better insight as to what's going on.
But how much is this gonna cost us you ask.
Dr Sammarco points out that, besides resolution, some of the advances in the CT scanning technology don't apply to corpses. Reduced radiation exposure & image stabilising to compensate for the slight movements of living patients don't matter when the patient is deceased. So the coroner's office could use yesterday's used scanners that the hospitals want to replace. She believes the county could possibly find the equipment for free. And as an added bonus, since we would be leading the region, if not the entire midwest, in the tech we could charge nearby counties for the service, hence, it could actually generate revenue.
The Cincinnati Blog expects no political issues to write about in this race but I disagree. Republican candidate for the office, HamCo GOP chairman Triantafilou's cousin Dr. Pete Kambelos, besides being an ideologue, isn't interested in new technology and insists we should just keep plugging away, doing things the way we always did it.
This race is about Hamilton County being a leader in forensics or just sitting on our hands Monzel style & watching the world pass by. This could be one of the most pivotal local races this fall.

More info:

Some cool video candy of the maturing of the tech:

Inside the skull of a suicide victim

Discovry News

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