Why are necropsies not performed in the Covid-19 pandemic?

Prof. Dr. V. Astarastoae

The COVID-19 medical crisis we are going through has brought us into situations we have never encountered before, from the phenomenon of social distancing to the lack of any articulated solution plan. Prof. Dr. Vasile Astarastoae made several analyzes in the last weeks of the medical oddities from COVID-19 crisis. Today it raises a new question: why are necropsies not performed on the bodies of those who died because of SARS-CoV-2 virus. This is all the more strange as it is the first time that this medical research tool is not used.

The COVID-19 crisis is certainly a phenomenon that humanity has never encountered. Isolating people in homes, but also the lack of a solution plan, other than driving with masks on their faces and the possibility of being stuck at any time, make this medical problem even more complicated.

To find a plan, researchers are looking for solutions to create a vaccine or an effective treatment for this virus. However, a very important element seems to be missing from this research puzzle: in-depth knowledge of the virus. Because we know from official communications that necropsies are not performed on the bodies of those who have died because of this virus.

Prof. Astarastoae, former president of the Romanian College of Physicians, makes an analysis of this medical oddity. He says it is the first time an autopsy has not been used since this research tool existed. The physician also gives some possible explanations for this, none of them being positive for those who are now managing the crisis.

Here is what Dr. Vasile Astaratoae writes on his social networking page:

In 1761, at the age of eighty, Giovanni Battista Morgagni (February 25, 1682 - December 6, 1771) published De Sedibus et causis morborum per anatomem indagatis, which made pathological anatomy a science. Pathological anatomy introduced into medicine an approach based on accuracy and precision. Today, there is no medical manual that does not have (when describing a disease) a consistent chapter of pathological anatomy, and in medical practice, therapy (in most cases) is conducted based on the results of pathological exploration. Today, pathological anatomy can help characterize possible changesspecific (pathognomonic) for a certain disease or general (non-specific) - present in several diseases.

Always, when a new disease appears, in order to establish an effective therapeutic protocol, the macro- and microscopic, immunological, cytogenetic changes determined by the new disease are studied. This was true until the COVID-19 pandemic. In this pandemic, we have studies on the structure of the new coronavirus, we have epidemiological studies, clinical studies, etc. and almost no anatomopathological research. This is because no autopsies were performed. It seems at least bizarre that the WHO and the health authorities, among the many recommendations, "forgot" to request an autopsy on those declared dead as a result of COVID-19.

Explanations given by the authorities (including the Romanian ones):

  1. Danger of infection of medical personnel performing the autopsy. The argument does not stand. Anatomical pathologists and forensic doctors are trained from the time of residency on how to proceed (what safety measures apply) in situations with high biological risk. Even outside the pandemic, they worked with biological products infected with various bacteria and viruses. They have protective equipment and they know how to use it. I have worked in the field [anatomopathology] for over 49 years, I have performed over 1000 autopsies and I can say that the risk of infection is substantially lower than for family doctors, emergency physicians or anesthetists. Moreover, when the autopsy is performed, it is known that it was positive in the test and measures can be taken to reduce the risk. In addition, the deceased does not breathe, does not cough, does not sneeze to transmit the virus by air.
  2. There is no capacity and logistics to perform the autopsies. This argument may be valid during the peak period. But it is not mandatory to perform an absolute autopsy on all deaths. It can be performed at the maximum capacity of the country; this argument does not work. An autopsy could be performed with minimal effort. Moreover, the way the cases were dispersed allowed the detachment of a number of pathologists and forensics in epidemic outbreaks.

The recommendation not to perform an autopsy on COVID-19 deaths leaves room for various speculations circulating in the public space:

  1. It is not wanted to specify the real cause of death, because there is no difference between those who died due to coronavirus and those who died due to another pathology, but were positive in the test. This exaggerates the severity of the pandemic, justifies, on the one hand, the limitation of civil rights (and thus the induced economic and social crisis), and on the other hand, amplifies the profit of medical corporations.
  2. It is not wanted to reveal the shortcomings of medical and social systems incapable of managing a public health problem. There are voices (more and more numerous) who blame the many deaths in hospitals and nursing homes on these shortcomings. For example, it is stated that in COVID-19 it is not pneumonia that is the maximum danger, but microthrombosis and associated infections. If true, then treatment with anticoagulants and antibiotics is indicated. Intubation and mechanical ventilation do more harm than good. In the absence of consistent pathological studies, such a hypothesis can neither be refuted nor confirmed.
  3. It tries a global social experiment led by a transnational "occult" (consisting of large corporations, politicians, scientists and the media) that tries to impose a "political-medical dictatorship" using a virus created in the laboratory. Finding out the truth through autopsies would be an obstacle to this plan.

In conclusion, not performing the autopsies in COVID-19 is a big mistake. A scientific method of substantiating the plan to combat the pandemic was abandoned and conspiracy theories were given way.

- Prof. Dr. V. Astaratoaie