4096 Shades of Grey: The Use of Post-Mortem Imaging to Determine Cause and Manner of Death

AAFS Plenary, February, 2019,┬áDr Chris O’Donnell

Since its beginnings in the mid-70s, CT scanning has become well established in clinical practice and a fundamental part of patient management. At the start of this century, enlightened practitioners predominately in Switzerland, deployed CT in death investigation and now almost all of those sophisticated clinical CT procedures can be applied to the deceased. At many forensic institutions post mortem CT (PMCT) or virtual autopsy has become integral to medicolegal death investigation either as a triage tool to determine the necessity for autopsy or in assisting the pathologist to better understand cause and manner of death including mechanisms of injury, during and after autopsy. The legal system is increasingly reliant on the images provided by PMCT for evidence at trial. This presentation will trace the history and developments of PMCT, provide examples of its use, and explore the new challenges brought by PMCT to the understanding of data manipulation and evidence-based forensic science in a legal framework.