Virtual microscopy for attorneys is an important tool for studying forensic evidence
It’s crucial in criminal and civil cases that expert witnesses are studying the same evidence. The Virtual Microscopy laboratory creates detailed, digitally produced images of original tissue samples and slides, ensuring exact reproductions of forensic evidence that can be delivered anywhere in the world to multiple parties.
The traditional process requires cutting new pieces of a tissue sample and distributing those pieces to attorneys and experts on request. The traditional process has two shortcomings:
- It does not guarantee an exact duplication of what the original pathologist studied.
- It opens the possibility of contamination.
“With this technology—virtual microscopy digital imaging—you can see the entire slide like you’re holding it up in your fingers, to the highest magnification we use,’’ says Patrick Lantz, MD, a professor of pathology with Wake Forest School of Medicine who has been asked to provide expert testimony in criminal and civil cases using virtual images.
“When it’s distributed to prosecution and defense in criminal cases and to plaintiffs and respondents in civil cases, everyone looks at exactly the same thing.”
Criminal case use of virtual pathology images
In any criminal case in which forensic evidence is available for review, the Virtual Microscopy lab can be used to create detailed virtual images of slides. This allows tissue to be examined by multiple parties, including:
- Diagnostic issues
- Cold cases
- Wrongful convictions
Civil case use of virtual pathology images
In civil cases, forensic evidence frequently must be studied to help determine medical facts in dispute, including:
- Medical malpractice cases
- Liability issues
- Autopsy reviews
Forensic evidence slides are handled in a secure manner and in compliance with jurisdictional requirements with a turnaround time of less than a week. Digital copies are provided via encrypted hard drive and delivered by Federal Express or other courier services.
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