A world first – for the second time

A world first – for the second time

When a Lodox Statscan was installed at the Salt River Forensic Pathology Services (FPS) Laboratory – locally also known as the Salt River Mortuary – in September 2007, this facility made history: It became the first mortuary in the world to have a Lodox full-body scanner.

About a week later, the second forensic installation was commissioned at Tygerberg FPS, a similar facility in the northern suburbs of Cape Town, with a different catchment area.

Salt River FPS is an extremely busy facility. The forensic pathologists (known as medical examiners in some parts of the world) perform over 3000 autopsies every year. Thus, on average, they conduct approximately 15 post-mortem investigations every working day. Considering that many of the examinations are crime-related, and that many of those cases involve multiple gunshot wounds, stabbings or other assaults, the Lodox full-body scanner has proven invaluable for improving the workflow, for providing medical imaging possibilities and for collecting evidence. Not a day goes by without the Lodox Statscan being pressed into service, and hard labour at that!

After seven and a half years of reliable service as the primary imaging modality at Salt River the Statscan scanner was still going strong. However, an opportunity arose for this facility to upgrade to the flagship Lodox scanner, the Xmplar-dr. Professor Lorna Martin, Head of the Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology at the University of Cape Town, was again instrumental in driving the process. She, along with Emeritus Professor Deon Knobel of the same department, had previously been involved in the procurement of the first Statscan for Salt River FPS.

Clockwise, from top left: Getting the Statscan through the narrow passage; Statscan ready to be loaded; Freddy unpacking the Xmplar-dr; Juanco (left) and Freddy (right) with the Xmplar-dr in position in the X-ray room.

On Friday, 13 March 2015, the new Lodox Xmplar-dr arrived at Salt River FPS. Anybody suffering from paraskevidekatriaphobia or friggatriskaidekaphobia (fear of Friday 13th) need not have been worried. Everything went without a hitch. Juanco and Freddy, the Integration Officers, executed all the tasks neatly and precisely.The Statscan was decommissioned and disassembled, and made ready to be loaded onto the truck. Then the new Xmplar-dr was unloaded, uncrated and moved into its position in the facility while the Statscan was loaded on the truck, crated and prepared to be shipped to George, a town in the Western Cape, about 500 km from Cape Town. There the Statscan will provide the same sterling service it did in Cape Town.

Salt River FPS is now the proud owner/operator of a new Lodox Xmplar-dr. History has again been made: This site is the first forensic facility in the world to have an Xmplar-dr. Others will probably follow in due course, but for now, Salt River FPS can display two feathers in their cap.

The Lodox Xmplar-dr fully installed and ready for use

Nafeesah, the Applications Specialist, providing training for the Doctors and Forensic Officers


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