Table 2

Quotes illustrating benefits of less invasive autopsy

ThemeIllustrative quotes
Procedural benefits
 NIA may provide greater diagnostic accuracyWith sort of very young babies you’re not necessarily going to get as much information as you want with the naked eye, whereas scans are very, very clear. Anatomical pathology technologist 2
 MIA includes benefits of NIA
 plus tissue analysis
So I think the imaging is very valuable, however obviously a lot of the times with children we see it’s an infection and you can’t diagnose that from the image. Anatomical pathology technologist 1
 Using images as part of reporting processWe meet all our families within our service afterwards to discuss the results of the [post mortem]… and I would never show a family here’s a [photograph] of your child’s liver, you know, that would be inappropriate but actually I think I would be comfortable showing them here’s an MRI scan of the brain or the spinal cord…I think actually that would allow you to put a picture on something that you probably couldn’t do now. Consultant neonatologist 1
 Potential to accelerate turnaround timesI’m assuming it will be quicker because you wouldn’t have to do the lengthy evisceration and evaluation. Paediatric pathologist 2
A full PM includes all the other ancillary investigations… to give a final report I have to wait for histology, genetics, microbiology, metabolics. Metabolics can take up to three months. Paediatric pathologist 3
Psychological benefits
 Procedure more palatableWhen we tell them we’re very clear about what they do in a post mortem and you can see them physically recoil sometimes. I mean we can be as compassionate as we can be whilst we’re trying to explain the details, but it’s often too much for them to take and I really do think a laparoscopic method would be much easier for them to cope with. Bereavement midwife 3
 Familiarity with imaging and
 laparoscopic approaches
And often these children have had procedures before where they’ve had you know scans, gastroscopies and surgeries and so they could imagine yes, that’s OK, that wasn’t so bad in the past, that’s something that I could contemplate my child having. Family liaison nurse 1
 Preference for small incisions and biopsiesI never found that talking about removing tissue samples and putting stuff in wax blocks was an issue. It was just the cutting the head and opening the chest cavity. Bereavement midwife 2
 Choices provide more control for parentsI think the more choices people have the – it’s so important because they have so little choice. Their child’s died so anything where you can give them some control is really helpful. Family liaison nurse 1
Benefits to faith groups
 Increased uptakeThere were certainly several Muslim families that I can recall that haven’t been able to agree to a full post mortem, but they happily agreed to just MRI. Bereavement midwife 1
 Positive impact with coroner’s officeAnd what’s more, it creates a relationship between the faith communities and the coroner whereby they understand that if you can, you will…So it’s a game changer, it has a hugely positive effect. Coroner 4
  • MIA, minimally invasive autopsy; NIA, non-invasive autopsy.