With Postmortem Testing, ‘Last Responders’ Shed Light On Pandemic’s Spread
By Michelle Andrews/NPR
As the coronavirus pandemic has unfolded, all eyes have been on the medical workers and public health disease detectives fighting on the front lines ― and sometimes giving their lives — to bring the coronavirus under control.
But as efforts to test for the coronavirus and trace cases continues, medical examiners and coroners play a vital — if often unsung ― role. These “last responders” are typically called on to investigate and determine the causes of deaths that are unexpected or unnatural, including deaths that occur at home.
In the early days of the outbreak, a scarcity of tests often hampered their efforts. Now, as that equipment gradually becomes more widely available, these professionals may be able to fill in answers about how people died and if those deaths were related to the coronavirus. And these confirmed cases can also help investigators trace contacts who may also be infected.
Those changes won’t happen at once or uniformly across the country, experts predict. In addition, an increase in postmortem testing is likely to put coroners and medical examiners in the middle of a debate heating up about the true number of COVID-19 casualties.
Carol graduated from Riverside White Cross School of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio and received her diploma as a registered nurse. She attended Bowling Green State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Literature. She attended the University of Toledo, College of Nursing, and received a Master’s of Nursing Science Degree as an Educator.
She has traveled extensively, is a photographer, and writes on medical issues. Carol has three children RJ, Katherine, and Stephen – one daughter-in-law; Katie – two granddaughters; Isabella Marianna and Zoe Olivia – and one grandson, Alexander Paul. She also shares her life with her husband Gordon Duff, many cats, and two rescues.