The 8th Annual Congress of the International Association of Forensic Radiology and Imaging (ISFRI) and 14th Anniversary Meeting of the International Association of Forensic Radiographers (IAFR)
This year’s congress was held between 14-16 May in Berlin, Germany and was hosted by Dr. Lars Oesterhelweg, Chair of the ISFRI 2019. The scientific focus of the meeting was on the use of imaging techniques in Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) and road traffic accidents. Other plenary sessions were held, which focused on cardiac imaging, gunshot wounds, technical developments and anthropology. The whole event was extremely successful and included some very important research findings
Radiographers and the IAFR were well represented at the event. As part of the opening DVI plenary session, IAFR Treasurer Claire Robinson presented her findings on rapid radiographer reporting of PMCT images in a DVI incident. Claire’s findings were very well received and opened the potential for advanced radiographer practice in forensic imaging. The IAFR are hopeful that this will be explored further, to allow radiographers to provide their expertise in future DVI incidents.
As part of the session on forensic anthropology, IAFR Secretary Edel Doyle also presented the newly updated, best-practice guidelines for the use of imaging in age estimation of living subjects. Edel has worked extremely hard in organising the working group responsible for the production of the guidelines and collating all of the information to ensure that these much-needed guidelines could be published in a timely manner. The updated guidelines can be accessed here.
IAFR Plenary Session – Friday 17th May
The IAFR held their parallel session on the Friday afternoon, chaired by Mark Viner, Jeroen Kroll and Edel Doyle. The IAFR session was opened by invitational speaker, Dr. Axel Heinemann from the Institute of Legal Medicine, Hamburg. Dr. Heinemann gave an overview of the use of forensic imaging in Germany, discussing the use of imaging modalities and presenting casework experience from the Hamburg Forensic Institute. Based on this presentation and others throughout the weekend, it appears that forensic imaging is well established in the major German cities. The IAFR hope that this will lead to further interest from radiographers in Germany, with the potential for a possible German branch of the IAFR.
Following Dr. Heinemann’s opening presentation, Edel Doyle presented on how a survey had produced in order to establish the current practice of forensic imaging in Australia and New Zealand. Since forensic imaging practice in Australia/New Zealand appears to be somewhat varied due to the lack of available guidance, the the findings of this survey should be interesting and allow appropriate guidance to be implemented, if necessary.
IAFR Education Officer, Paul Hunter closed the first part of the afternoon session with his discussion on how PMCT Agatston cardiac calcium scoring can be successfully integrated into a minimally-invasive autopsy service. This built upon research presentations from a previous plenary session on cardiac imaging, which reported the accuracy of calcium scoring compared with angiography and autopsy findings. This also identified the need for further research into the area to determine both the accuracy and practical application of this method of imaging.
The second part of the IAFR session was opened by Claire Robinson, who discussed the use of PMCT in DVI incidents, based upon her experience in the investigation of Flight MH17 and the Grenfell Tower disasters. This focused on what radiographers could and should expect if deployed to provide imaging following a mass fatality incident.
Forensic anthropologist and radiographer, Charlotte Primeau (IAFR Membership Secretary) then gave her presentation on the use of imaging to support forensic anthropology. Again, this linked very well with presentations on anthropology and sex determination, delivered during other sessions at the conference.
The session was closed by IAFR Vice-Chair and Welfare Officer, Lindsay-Batty Smith who discussed the concept of the ‘wounded healer’ and how radiographers deal with trauma, particularly in a forensic setting. This presentation highlighted the importance of personal and staff welfare and the need for forensic radiographers to support one-another, wherever possible.
Presentations from the IAFR plenary session
Next year’s annual congress will be held in Albuquerque, New Mexico and hosted by the newly appointed ISFRI chair Natalie Adolphi. The IAFR look are already looking forward to this event and hope to welcome more members to attend and present at this meeting.
The IAFR would like to thank Lars Oesterhelweg and the ISFRI for hosting such a successful event and we look forward to further collaboration between the two organisations in the future.