This article explains how hospital autopsies are declining, and what this means for the families of patients who die in a hospital. Before 1971 if you had a loved one die in a hospital, there was a 20% chance that they would have an autopsy completed. Now there is only a 5% chance that that there will be an autopsy performed. This decline is drastic, and has some consequences: the families do not know the exact reason why their family member died, this information will then get passed onto officials who will then use it to decide on policies. The article also says that an autopsy costs about $1,275, but private insurers and medicare do not pay for them. Instead they put the autopsy payment into the full payment for the hospital. This gives the hospital an incentive to not perform the autopsy, but to pocket the money meant to pay for the supplies for the autopsy. This is what makes it extremely rare to have an autopsy performed in the hospital. This relates to what we talked about in class because it shows where forensics goes wrong. The hospital should be required of the hospital to perform an autopsy with the consent of the family, or if there was foul play suspected. Hospitals should not be allowed to go along and pocket the money that should be used for autopsies. With hospital autopsies declining, important information for families, and health officials will never be discovered. If the person who passed away had a rare, and or deadly disease or illness that was never diagnosed, the family has the right to know this for their future.
Coroners do not always agree on the manner and cause of death, this article discusses a recently completed study in England and Wales that involved 92 senior coroners (one from each area in England and Wales). 507,000 people die in England and Wales each year, but only 45% of those deaths are reported to a local coroner, of that 45% the coroners then decide whether or not to investigate a case based on whether or not there was foul play involved, it was an unnatural death, or if the cause of death is unknown. The cause of death that a coroner decides helps the public in the future since medical professionals can try to prevent accidental deaths. During this study 35 of the 92 local coroners examined 3 different scenarios for each scenario the coroners were not able to decide on one unanimous cause of death. Each coroner was given the same information, but it was presented differently for each coroner. For scenarios 1 and 2 they came up with 4 different causes, and for scenario 3 they came up with 8 different causes. The study showed that the coroners approached the scenarios similarly, but the causes that they decided on were very different, and based on different facts presented to them. This affects the people of England and Wales because of the coroners cannot decide on one cause of death for each scenario, then accidental deaths cannot be prevented. This relates to what we learned in class because we discussed how there are no national standards for death investigation, and with this comes many different ways for approaching a death investigation which means that there are many different outcomes. If there were national standards for death investigations then there would be more accurate information on the causes of death. Therefore accidental deaths and deaths caused by diesease can be prevented.
This article talks about how the Virtopsy works in helping determine the cause and manner of someone's death. The Virtopsy had been in the making for decades, and has finally been introduced to a few medical facilities in Europe. The Virtopsy is a new state-of-the-art technology that is going to change the way that medical examiners perform autopsies. The Virtopsy combines the scans of an MRI, CT, and surface scans (this is called a virtobot) to create a 3D scan of the body. With the Virtopsy every piece of evidence is visible to the medical examiner, even the most minute pieces. They are able to find many things that you cannot see during a traditional autopsy such as: lesions, blows, cancer, air pockets, and a heart attack. The Virtopsy is meant to be complementary to the traditional autopsy. Using the Virtopsy has many benefits such as: planning an autopsy to involve the parts of the body that looked suspicious on the scans. The Virtopsy is also extremely helpful because it saves the scans forever, and if you are dealing with a case that may involve foul play you are able to look back at it whenever you want, or get a third opinion if you are unsure of the cause. Relatives of the deceased also like this because it is a non-invasive option. I believe that the Virtopsy is going to be a very helpful piece of technology once it begins to be used all over the world for death investigation. I believe that the Virtopsy will never fully replace the traditional autopsy for many decades, but it will greatly aid medical examiners when determining the cause of death. Also it is a great tool to use for relatives of the deceased who do not want their loved one to be cut open after they have passed away. What if the Virtopsy did become the standard autopsy? Coroner's offices would look very different, and be much more expensive, would the public be willing to pay for multiple multi-million dollar Virtopy scanners? It will be interesting to see what the Virtopsy's impact will be in the future.
This video focuses on virtual autopsies (Virtopsy) and how they may help in the future. Autopsies have been occurring for hundreds of years, and now virtual autopsies have become semi-popular in the last few years. Virtual autopsies can be better than completing a physical autopsy. Some of the goods parts of the virtual autopsy is that it is not messy, and can be completed rather quickly, it is also able to show minute details like the placement of gas throughout the body which is unable to be seen in a physical autopsy. The forensic pathologist that is analyzing the autopsy is also able to scroll through the 3D scan and look at each individual layer of the body, and the organs. The Virtopsy is also extremely useful because in a physical autopsy it is hard to determine the actual size of the weapon used, but in the Virtopsy finding the size of a weapon is easy, and then they are able to determine the possible weapons used. After viewing this video I believe that virtual autopsies can be very helpful in determining how someone died. Although this way of completing autopsies is very useful if physical autopsies were to cease would there be any information lost if only virtual autopsies were completed? I believe that there would be because if the forensic pathologist never opens the victim up knowledge may be forever lost inside of the person's body. What if the person had a rare condition that contributed to their death, and the pathologist was unable to see how it was presented and then use that to further medical research. If virtual autopsies are the way of the future would the offices of medical examiners and coroners only have the scanners, or would they have a small autopsy suite in case they had to collect physical evidence off of someone, or open them up to retrieve a bullet or another weapon used during the crime.
This article discusses how there have been visible men and women who were made out of clear plastic and were used to show how autopsies were performed instead of using live cadavers. This brings up many questions that the author considers. One question is, how does this compare to an actual autopsy. The simulated autopsy is obviously different than an actual autopsy since the organs are not real, but plastic. This gives the student a different experience and thus when they have to perform their first autopsy they do not know exactly what they are doing as the models are more durable than the actual cadaver is. This could be a big problem in the future. Also it touches on how if public autopsies would be of any benefit so that we would become more open about discussing and facing death. This would be helpful because medical examiners usually have a bad reputation about the manner in which they deal with the bodies. It says how if there were public autopsies where the family members could come and watch if they wished. This will help the reputation of medical examiners because the public is able to see that they mean no harm when they are performing an autopsy. After reading this article there are a few questions that I asked. What would happen if all autopsies were public ones (only if the family gives consent)? This would change the way that autopsies, and death are thought of a lot, but it would also help show that medical examiners are respectful to the cadavers, and they would become even more respectful if they were being watched by the public. another question that I have is what if the way that medical examiners learned to perform an autopsy was solely on a plastic "cadaver" and never on an actual cadaver until their first autopsy comes around? also what if the way that surgeons practiced had to be on plastic models? I think that if medical examiners and surgeons were only allowed to practice on plastic models a lot of value would be lost since everything is different on an actual person or cadaver. Lastly, I would like to one day become a surgeon and if I was never allowed to practice on a cadaver I would be quite nervous while performing my first surgeries.
This article describes how the virtual autopsy may be a success in the future, and how they are already performing them in Switzerland to determine the cause and manner of death. It specifically talks about how with the virtual autopsy they are not only able to decide on how and why the person died, but they are sometimes also able to identify what weapon was used to kill them if it was a violent death. They are able to do this by first performing the virtual autopsy. Once the autopsy is completed they will take the possible weapons that they found at the scene and scan those as if they were doing an autopsy on the weapons. They can then use the weapons and try to fin them onto the scans from the autopsy. Along with this they can also have very minute details show up on the autopsy scans as well. The virtual autopsy may take a while to become an everyday occurrence, but once it does it will be very useful and can preserve autopsy findings forever. This relates to what we have learned this semester because when talking about what may go wrong with autopsies, and what may not be found during an autopsy since they are performed by human and there is always the opportunity for human error. If the virtual autopsy was universal, there would be little margin for human error since it is done by the computer. If this was at all possible, there would be no error for margin and nothing could be missed. This would change forensics forever since there would be certainty for the cause and manner of death in almost every death investigation. After reading this article I was wondering what would happen if all autopsies went virtual. Would there be offices for medical examiners, and coroners? Would the autopsies be performed in special radiology suites in hospitals or the coroner's or medical examiner's office?