The Rt. Hon. Baroness Warsi, former co-chair of the Conservative Party, has visited the offices of iGene in Bradford to learn more about its Digital Autopsy facility. Digital Autopsy is a branch of forensic science and has proven vital in preserving evidence in criminal cases.
Baroness Warsi is the former co-chair of the Conservative Party and Foreign Office Minister who resigned in August citing her disagreement with Government policy over the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict.
She visited iGene today together with senior police figures responsible for serious crime in Bradford and Ramzan Mohayuddin of the Saad Foundation.
Baroness Warsi was welcomed by Deputy Council leader Cllr Imran Hussain, Lord Mayor Cllr Mike Gibbons and the Lady Mayoress, Mrs Elizabeth Sharp.
Cllr Hussain said: “I’m very proud that Bradford will be one of the first places in the country to have these digital scanning facilities. It will be good news for all bereaved families. As a young lawyer I had to attend a post-mortem and I found it shocking and disturbing and I was determined to find out if there was another way, a better way of doing them. I have campaigned for many years for this pioneering technology and I believe non-invasive procedures are the future for post mortems.”
During the visit, Baroness Warsi was shown how a specially-trained pathologist can conduct a full post mortem on a computer without the need to dissect the body. The body is scanned using conventional CT technology, forming an incredibly detailed 3D representation of the body and then iGene’s INFOPSY® software enables pathologists to rotate the 3D image and evaluate it from multiple angles.
The Bradford centre is operated by iGene and is part of the multi-million pound UK-wide network of Digital Autopsy facilities that is transforming the way post mortems are carried out. Using the system, a scene of death or crime could be reconstructed digitally using the 3D capabilities of the system and using a digital autopsy rather than a traditional invasive one, preserving key evidence that might otherwise be damaged. The results are available almost immediately and can be shared digitally between police forces.
iGene has already used its cutting edge technology to help police solve the mystery of a man who committed suicide more than a year ago. It was contacted by the British Transport Police after extensive inquiries by officers to identify the man, who had been hit by a train, had failed.
iGene has sent the data and images to experts at Dundee University, who will now use the information to try and create a full facial reconstruction. It is then hoped an appeal can be launched to identify the man.
Baroness Warsi said: “iGene’s Digital Autopsy technology offers tremendous potential, not only for families who are seeking to understand how their loved one died and for this to be done quickly and without the need for cutting of the body, but also for police and other authorities who can use it to assist in their investigations.”
Ash Govind, iGene’s Global Vice President, Commercial Development, said: “The potential for Digital Autopsy to transform crime scene investigations is significant. We have already seen how important a role it can play in establishing the cause of death in normal Coronial cases – and the benefit this can have for the bereaved family. However we are only at the start of establishing how big a role it can play in identifying criminal activity too.”
Ramzan Mohayuddin, of the Saad Foundation, which helps bereaved families in their time of need and has a particular focus on the introduction of imaging services as an alternative to intrusive post mortems, said: “This is about families having a choice and the ability to treat their loved ones with respect and dignity. The one certainty in life is death. Embracing technology is the way forward, intrusive post mortems are a Victorian practice, outdated and no longer good practice – iGene have turned research into reality.”
iGene is a Malaysian medical informatics company building the world’s first network of digital autopsy facilities here in the UK. iGene’s first digital autopsy facility was opened by the Chief Coroner in Sheffield in November 2013 and their Bradford facility followed in April 2014. Their third facility will be located in Sandwell and will serve the whole of the West Midlands. It is currently under construction and due of completion at the end of October. A further 14 centres are planned to open in the UK in the next couple of years.