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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 69-74

Autopsy procedure and standards for deaths of unknown cause during the COVID-19 pandemic

Ningbo Institute of Criminal Science and Technology, Ningbo Institute of Criminal Science and Technology Research, Ningbo, Zhejiang 315000, China

Correspondence Address:
Hongbing Pang
Ningbo Institute of Criminal Science and Technology Research, Ningbo, Zhejiang 315000
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jfsm.jfsm_37_20

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At any time during the current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic period, forensic pathologists of public security departments in China may come in contact with corpses of unknown or unclear disease history. When these forensic pathologists perform autopsies on corpses with unknown cause of death, they inevitably face a high risk of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2019 (SARS-CoV-2) infection throughout the autopsy process. In the present paper, the various aspects of the autopsy procedure for corpses with unknown cause of death, including preautopsy preparations, personnel protection, autopsy operations, postautopsy disinfection, and equipment requirements, were explored on the basis of relevant laws and regulations such as the Law of the People's Republic of China on Prevention and Treatment of Infectious Diseases, characteristics of the novel coronavirus and COVID-19, guidelines for epidemic prevention and control, the guiding opinions on the regulation of on-site inspection and handling processes during the COVID-19 pandemic period issued by the ministry of public security, and the current practices of public security forensic pathologists. Recommendations for the autopsy procedure and protection measures for public security forensic pathologists during the COVID-19 pandemic period have been proposed to provide a reference for frontline forensic pathologists and judicial authenticators.

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