Tel Aviv – Autopsies, long a problematic and divisive issue for many religious Jews, could become a thing of the past in Israel. A new MRI device that can accurately determine cause of death without autopsies was inaugurated Tuesday afternoon at Assaf Harofeh Hospital.
The systems are in use in several places abroad, and allows doctors to conduct a “virtual autopsy,” viewing the inside of the body and observing the condition of organs and other internal components without the need to cut open the body. The systems have been around for several years, but recent technological improvements make the scans far more accurate than they were in the past – to the extent that many doctors feel that they can rely on the results produce by the MRI.
Participating in the ceremony, among others, were Deputy Health Minister Ya’akov Litzman, Deputy Finance Minister Yitachak Cohen, and Zaka chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav. Litzman said that the installation of the MRI was a historic event, because it provided a technological solution to one of the most divisive issues in Israeli life – the insistence of police and medical authorities on conducting autopsies in cases where the cause of death is not clear, and the resistance by religious – and specifically Hareidi – communities to autopsies, resistance that in the past has resulted in large-scale demonstrations and protests, arrests, and even the removal of bodies from the Pathological Institute in Tel Aviv.