New medical examiner's office opens in Halifax

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HALIFAX – Green technology and advanced forensic facilities are improving medical examiner services to help bring closure for families and find answers for police and other agencies.  

Justice Minister Ross Landry officially opened the Dr. William D. Finn Centre for Forensic Medicine, in Burnside today, Nov. 21. The facility is named for Canada's first medical examiner.  

"The loss of a loved one should not be further complicated by out-of-date facilities," said Mr. Landry. "Although Dr. Finn would see a substantial difference in the facilities and technology available today compared to 100 years ago, I'm sure he would agree that the professionalism and compassion for families is still what's most important."  

Dr. Finn is recognized for his expertise during the Halifax Explosion and Titanic disaster. One of Dr. Finn's grandchildren, Nancy Crane, of Halifax, expressed the family's pride with the naming of the facility.  

"Although I never met my grandfather, the stories and rich history have been passed down in my family for generations," said Ms. Crane. "It is a great tribute to his memory to have the new facility in his name."  

Key features of the new building include: -- enhanced security for information and evidence -- laboratory-grade air and water handling in the mortuary wing to reduce the risk of microbial contamination -- capacity to expand, allowing the service to handle multiple deaths, such as during an epidemic or after a significant accident, like a plane crash -- videoconferencing facilities which may allow pathologists to testify in court remotely -- a private briefing room for families -- information technology changes to archive autopsy images  

The building is built to gold certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environment Design Program. It was completed within budget and on time.  

The medical examiner had worked out of the QEII Health Sciences Centre with administration offices elsewhere in Halifax. The Dartmouth facility is open with autopsies starting in the facility Dec. 10.

Organizations: QEII Health Sciences Centre

Geographic location: Halifax, Burnside, Canada Dartmouth

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