MRI Autopsy Introduced in Canada

As the National Post announced in an October 30 article, “Ontario recently became the first jurisdiction in Canada to begin using imaging machines designed to diagnose the living as a tool to uncover the medical secrets of the dead.”

Morbid though it may sound, there are indeed benefits to using medical imaging methods such as CTs and MRIs to determine cause of death: such methods are noninvasive, which provides some comfort for families mourning loved ones. As well, experts are saying these ‘virtual autopsies’ will improve the efficiency of the post-mortem system, uncover more information than traditional autopsies, and create electronic cause of death records useful for medical research or legal investigations.

Dr. Michael Pollanen, Ontario’s chief forensic pathologist, has called for international research to be done comparing the two types of autopsies–and the results they uncover, particularly in criminal investigations. “You have somebody who has been shot several times, and we can scan them now and we can reconstruct the bullet-wound path in three dimensions,” he says. “That will allow the jurors to create an integrated mental image of how this happened.”

Meanwhile, an article published today in the U.S. entitled Obamacare: The Unimaginable Suffering that Awaits Us laments the introduction of universal health care in America and cites Canada as an example of a failed health care system saying: “Physicians and modern medical equipment (such as MRI units and CT scanners) are in short supply nationwide, and at any given time more than 800,000 Canadian are awaiting necessary medical treatment.”

When the living are waiting so long for a life-saving MRI, does it make sense to use these resources on those already dead?

What do you think?

2013-11-05T20:46:48+00:00 November 5th, 2013|Medical Imaging, MRI, MRI Research, MRI Vancouver|