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Forensic Total Body Digital Imaging Improvement Project for the Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grant Program FY 2019

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2019, $250,000)

The Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office is a NAME-accredited regional facility, having jurisdictional authority over deaths in Spokane County and performing autopsies on a referral basis for 12 surrounding counties. The office, currently housed in two facilities totaling 4,523 square feet, will be moving to a 22,000-square foot facility in mid-2020. The present autopsy facility is housed in a hospital, and the office uses the services and equipment of a hospital-based radiology group for postmortem X-rays. Funds from this award will facilitate the purchase of a total body digital X-ray scanner for the new facility. The scanner will be used to obtain total-body images of every decedent examined by autopsy, compared to approximately 10% who currently have any X-ray examination. Traditional total-body X-ray takes 30 minutes to one hour, compared to total body scan time of 3-5 minutes. The purchase will provide regional benefit, as one goal for the new facility is to meet the needs of additional rural counties, who have requested autopsy services but been refused because of current facility limitations. Though not specifically designed to address the opioid crisis, an increased autopsy capacity will allow more rural counties, who statistically have been hardest hit by the crisis, to have accurate autopsy data, valid toxicology results, and cause of death determination to guide opioid abuse crisis intervention. CA/NCF

Date Created: September 12, 2019