AIIMS Delhi and the Indian Council of Medical Research(ICMR) are collaboratively working on a technique for postmortem without dissecting the body. According to Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, it is likely to be functional within the next six months.
With its implementation, India will become the first country to start “Virtual autopsy” in the South-East Asian region.
“The All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), New Delhi and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) are working together on a technique for postmortem without incising/dissecting the body. This technique is likely to become functional in the next six months,” he added.
He also added that the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and AIIMS have studied global practices and taken up this project for ‘dignified management of dead bodies’. “Family members of the deceased feel uncomfortable with the traditional way of postmortem. Also, the virtual autopsy will be cost and time effective as it will take only 30 minutes to complete as against 2.5 hours taken normally,” he added.
Dr Sudhir Gupta, professor and head of forensic medicine at AIIMS, said, “Most families don’t want an autopsy done. But they have no choice as postmortem is an important part of the police investigation in case of unnatural death.” He also added that they have already set up a digital X-ray machine to conduct an autopsy of bodies with bone injuries or fractures caused after an accident.
“We had been researching a lot on virtual autopsy. The project, however, requires investment in terms of buying a CT scan machine and creating a new postmortem room. ICMR’s new initiative to select ten projects for funding its Centre for Advanced Research and Excellence Programme has come as a boon,” he added further.
If using conventional methods, the autopsy might take up to three days, depending on the complexity of the case and the availability of experts. A virtual autopsy is an emerging science where doctors attempt to assess the cause of death using a digital CT scan or MRI instead of cutting the body open. Countries like Switzerland, the USA and Australia are already using this technology.

Source: Times of India, The Print.

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