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A Digital Answer to Distress

In late 2015, iGene presented at the SAIF (Society of Allied & Independent Funeral Directors) Education day, in Leicester. Ken Morgan, our Digital Autopsy Facility Manager provided an insight into iGene and the company’s plans for future expansion. Rewritten by Stewart McRobert,  Ken’s article reads as follows…


Funeral directors know only too well the distress that can be caused to loved ones when a deceased person is made subject to an intrusive post mortem examination. However, as Ken Morgan explained, new technology has the ability to ease that anxiety. Ken, a Fellow of the British Institute of Embalmers, set the scene by outlining the history of the country’s anatomists from the 1700s. Covering topics such as the Burke and Hare murders and the introduction of the Anatomy Acts he explained how for over 250 years we have dissected the deceased to establish a cause of death. “New technology has now brought us an alternative,” he said. “The virtual, or digital, autopsy.” The approach is akin to the way a radiologist looks at the scans of a living person to identify illness or disease; iGene has simply taken this one step further. “We scan the whole body in much greater detail than is carried out in hospitals. Since x-rays have no adverse effect on the deceased, we can use the maximum dose.” Once complete, the radiologists view the images to evaluate the cause of death. The report is sent to the pathologist who would have carried out a traditional post mortem. He carries out an external examination, studies the report and issues the necessary findings to the coroner. If he is not happy for any reason an invasive post mortem can still be performed.


Before a final question and answer session Ken showed video’s of digital autopsies and the 3D images produced by iGene’s leading edge software.


Alun Tucker, Executive Chairman, National Society of Allied & Independent Funeral Directors said the session had been well received, and all feedback was very positive, the most common question being ‘when will it come to my area?’



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