COVID breathes new life into autopsies nationwide

The pandemic is helping to revive the use of autopsies, which has slowed down over the years. When the virus first hit, pathologists had to work on the first victims of the disease. The results became key to understanding how COVID-19 devastated the body. (23rd of December)
Video transcript
AMY RAPKIEWICZ: Historically, autopsy has always played a role in learning the disease process when thinking about pandemics, influenza, SARS-COV-19, and any pandemic. And I think when the coronavirus was first described - at least COVID-19, not the coronavirus in general - we knew it was affecting the lungs. Apparently patients with respiratory problems came in. But it was only through autopsy that we were able to identify the spectrum of disease manifestations that the coronavirus can cause - COVID-19 can cause.
It usually takes over a year to complete this book. And we're almost done, and this one is only a few months old.
When we started autopsy of the COVID-19 patients, we found that various organs were clotted throughout the body - the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys. And that has really been undervalued clinically as a source of a process within the disease. In many of my cases, the patients who died in the intensive care unit had very advanced scars on their lungs that I would not expect from someone with influenza, for example. And I think we'll learn that the damage the coronavirus is doing is pretty dramatic.
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