A recent study in Annals of Internal Medicine discusses the benefits of virtual autopsies, in which common electronic medical imaging technologies — magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), and surface scans — are combined to provide forensic insights that conventional autopsies are unable to catch. “Virtobot” is the name Michael Thali gave to this suite of devices, which was pioneered at the University of Zurich and is now being used in a select number of hospitals across Europe.
What’s the Big Idea?
Forensic scientist Michael Tsokos thinks that half of homicides in Germany are overlooked due to resistance to traditional autopsy from both doctors and victims’ families. Another recently-published study helps back this up: “[T]he post-mortem in more than 10 percent of cases is performed incompletely or not in accordance with legal requirements.” For families, some of the discomfort associated with traditional autopsy can be avoided with the Virtobot. As for doctors, younger generations are much more open to the technology than older ones, who originally derided the concept as “crap,” according to Thali.