Establishing a Virtual Autopsy Center: The Basic Requirements–NEIGRIHMS Experience

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Amar J. Patowary


An autopsy is an integral part of the criminal investigation of the death of a human being, and a Virtual autopsy, Digital autopsy or Virtopsy as is called, is a new addition to it, particularly in India. India's first Virtual autopsy center was established at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, and was inaugurated in March 2021. In less than one year time, the second Virtual autopsy center has become functional at North Eastern indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS), Shillong, with a computed tomography (CT) scan machine and related console panel and work stations; the system also includes one virtual dissection table, which is the first of its kind in the field of Forensic Medicine in India. There are many advantages of Virtual autopsy over conventional autopsy, and at the same time, there are limitations too. However, unlike the conventional autopsy, which is subjective and always observer depended, Virtopsy is objective and observer-independent. Moreover, it is computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging (CT/MRI) based, so the data generated can be stored even after the disposal of the body. Till now it is, therefore, considered as a supplement to the conventional autopsy for medico-legal purposes; however, in some cases like death due to road traffic incidents, etc., Virtopsy may be considered instead of the conventional autopsy.

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Patowary, A. J. (2022). Establishing a Virtual Autopsy Center: The Basic Requirements–NEIGRIHMS Experience. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ETHICS, TRAUMA & VICTIMOLOGY, 8(01), 22-27.
Research Article