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The Forensic Radiographer: A New Member in the Medicolegal Team

Schneider, Benjamin*†; Chevallier, Christine*†; Dominguez, Alejandro*‡; Bruguier, Christine*†; Elandoy, Cristèle*†§; Mangin, Patrice PhD, MD*; Grabherr, Silke MD*

The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology: March 2012 - Volume 33 - Issue 1 - p 30–36
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0b013e31820c6aa3
Original Articles

Multidetector computed tomography is becoming more widespread in forensic medicine. In most services, autopsy assistants perform the radiological examination. We introduced professional radiographers into the legal medicine service and hypothesized they would also be able to take over duties currently reserved for other specialists. The aims of this study were to evaluate if radiographers could be trained as “forensic radiographers” by (1) integrating graduated medical radiographers into the legal medicine service, (2) investigating the advantages of this collaboration, and (3) defining the duties of the forensic radiographers.

The study was performed prospectively on a group of 8 recruited radiographers who underwent a testing period with special training. They learned the basics of medicolegal case treatment, the autonomous execution of postmortem computed tomography angiography, and postprocessing of data. Seven of 8 radiographers finished the training and were integrated into our service. Although all radiographers were able to fulfill the duties demanded after the training period, some radiographers could not enter or complete the program because they were unable to work with dead bodies.

Our study presents the advantages of integrating radiographers into the medicolegal team and proposes how to train the forensic radiographers. In addition, the duties and responsibilities of these new specialists are defined.

From the *University Center of Legal Medicine Lausanne-Geneva, University of Lausanne; †Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, University Hospital of Lausanne; ‡School of Health Sciences, Radiologic Medical Imaging Technology; and §Institute of Radiation Physics, University Hospital of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland.

Manuscript received September 9, 2010; accepted November 2, 2010.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Reprints: Silke Grabherr, MD, University Center of Legal Medicine Lausanne-Geneva, University of Lausanne, Rue du Bugnon 21, CH-1011 Lausanne, Switzerland. E-mail:

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.