In April 2004 MBCOL learned that the Department of Health were driving an Initiative entitled “The less invasive autopsy”. We have had a number of correspondences in relation to this, physician a brief summary follows:-
Research on this matter was to be undertaken by Professor G N Rutty (Head of Forensic Pathology Unit) from the University of Leicester. This would involve trials that would give a reasonable comparison between modern day radiological imaging techniques and the traditional autopsy examination.
Since we all have difficulties and objections to autopsies this research is very important to us as it will remove the need to surgically cut and open the body of the deceased in order to establish the cause of death.
You will also know that MBCOL has involved itself for a significant period of time in exploring possible alternatives and indeed we ourselves have commissioned advice from various medical experts. We are aware that a scheme already operates in Manchester within the Jewish community where the Coroners office has agreed under some circumstances to receive radiological evidence rather than evidence based on the traditional autopsy.
We have always taken the view that the advances in modern day medicine should be continually explored in order to minimise the traditional autopsy and thereby satisfy requirements dictated by the law without offending religious or faith opinion.
This initiative has received support from many Coroners nationally. We therefore should absolutely have no hesitation whatsoever in fully supporting the trials that Professor Rutty wishes to undertake. We should fully support this research on the basis that it will alleviate and indeed address the deep concern that we all have in relation to this particular issue. We also feel that imaging techniques would on the whole speed up the process and ultimately would in the long term reduce costs and allow us to effect burials quicker.
Unfortunately, the funding for these trials has been curtailed. We are very keen to give support to this as the benefit would be very significant. The Trustees of MBCOL would urge you all to give whatever financial assistance you are able to give towards this research.