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A More Religious Autopsy

 by Bennett Gordon


Tags: Spirituality, Science and Technology, health, religion, Judaism, autopsies, The Tablet,

Religions often have strict rules regarding treatment of the dead, which can be problematic when local authorities need to perform autopsies. Writing for The Tablet, Sarah Weinman points out that Orthodox Jews often object to autopsies, citing Jewish laws that say people must be buried within 24 hours of death, and that the body must not be disfigured in any way during that time. Autopsies, according to some, violate those rules.

 It’s not just Jews either. According to Weinman, “the Amish, Hmong, and many Muslims also try to avoid the procedure.” In response, forensic pathologists have been working hard to respect religious laws where possible and to come up with alternatives. Some pathologists now perform “virtual autopsies” that use CT scans and MRIs to get the information they need without the invasiveness of a traditional autopsy. The scans aren’t as comprehensive as a full autopsy, but they’re becoming increasingly accepted by religious communities, and they’re far less expensive, too.

Source: The Tablet