Over Half Japanese Autopsy Institutions Cannot Accept Coronavirus-Infected Bodies

  • Category:Other
More than 50%, or 40 of the 73 institutions that conduct forensic autopsies, said they “cannot accept” corpses infected with the coronavirus, according to a May survey conducted by the Japanese Society of Legal Medicine and the Japanese Society of Forensic Pathology. Many institutions have complained about the lack of facilities to prevent infection, and it has become clear the virus is a barrier to determining the cause of death.

In February, the National Institute of Infectious Diseases issued guidelines for autopsies on infected bodies. For negative pressure to ensure the air remains in the autopsy room, an air conditioner that discharges air from the ceiling to the floor was recommended. The guidelines also call for air outlets located far from crowded places.

The two societies, consisting of many forensic scientists, conducted the survey, and 73 universities and medical examiners’ offices out of 90 institutions responded. Most institutions conduct judicial autopsies on bodies suspected of being involved in crimes.

Of the 40 institutions that said they could not accept infected bodies, 27 cited the lack of facilities to provide negative pressure and adequate ventilation in the autopsy rooms.

Many also said there was a medical supply shortage. “We have no [high-performance] N95 particulate respirator,” one university in Hokkaido said, while a university in the Kansai region said, “We have no access to protective clothing.”

Of the 24 institutions that said they could “accept the bodies,” several responded, “We cannot eliminate the infection risk for prosecutors and police-related officials [who are present].”

Yasuhiro Aoki, a professor at Nagoya City University and president of the Japanese Society of Legal Medicine, said in one case, an institution in the Kansai region refused to conduct an autopsy on an infected person requested by police.

“To prevent the spread of regional differences in determining the cause of death, we must enhance measures to prevent infection,” Aoki said. “We need state support.”


Comment(s) Write comment

Trackback (You need to login.)