The Public & Forensic Mortuary in Bradford, UK will soon be changing the way they handle up to 70% of their autopsies. 3D scanning technology has advanced to the point the average autopsy can now be performed digitally, eliminating the need for a scalpel and an invasive investigation. Malaysian-based company iGene is donating £1.5 million worth of scanning equipment to the city of Bradford to kick start their efforts and the new lab will be opening soon. Ash Govind, global vice-president of iGene, said, "Our new Bradford facility will be a real milestone. We are building an extension to the Forensic Science Centre to house the new digital autopsy scanner and this should open in the first quarter of 2014."
The new non-intrusive procedure is being championed by a number of local Muslim and Jewish groups because both religions emphasize the need for a fast burial. Council for Mosques president Mohammed Rafiq Sehgal told reporters, "It will reduce the stress and worry of relatives waiting for burials with loved ones being in hospital or the mortuary when we want them to be in their burial place at rest. It is our faith for that to happen as soon as possible. It has been a big issue."
Bradford Council deputy leader Imran Hussain has been lobbying for changes to the city's procedure since 2009 and views the new lab as a significant victory. "The need for intrusive post mortems will drop significantly," Hussain said. "As high as more than 70 per cent of cases could be suitable for digital autopsy. We can all be proud of the pioneering role that Bradford is playing in making this a reality."
3D scanning and printing have already been used to identify the remains of unknown soldiers in the United States, but this story marks the first time a noted UK mortuary has taken steps to streamline their process thanks to 3D scanning technology.