COVID-19 and blood clots: Medical examiner explains how they’re connected, what is still unknown

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Research is starting to show more connections between blood clots and people who die from COVID-19.

To learn more about the virus, which is not even a year old yet, researchers have been doing autopsies on COVID-19 patients.

But locally, officials said autopsies are not being performed on most people who die from the virus.


READ: Florida reports more than 100 COVID-19 deaths for 2nd straight day, 27 of which in Central Florida

A pathologist at NYU Medical Center, who expected to find clots in the lungs, said autopsies are showing clots in almost every organ of the body of those who died of COVID-19.

Orange and Osceola Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Joshua Stephany looked at the study and said there's not enough information to know if the clots were caused by the virus.

“Because you also have to remember, a lot of these people who are in the hospital are in the hospital for long periods of time. And what is one of the number one worries when you’re in the hospital and you’re in a bed for a long time? Blood clots. No matter what disease you’re in there for,” Stephany said.

READ: Orlando infectious disease practice to join race for COVID-19 vaccine as part of global study

For uniformity in reporting in Florida, the governor's state of emergency forced medical examiners in the state to take over COVID-19 cases.

Stephany said there are different ways to tell if someone died of coronavirus or with it.

“It’s kind of a consolation of everything together,” he said.

“So, if someone’s got hypertension, coronary disease, diabetes, how do you know which one did it?” Channel 9 reporter Lauren Seabrook asked.

Read: Coronavirus checklist: 100-plus disinfectants that may kill coronavirus on surfaces

“So they all intermingle, interplay, then that COVID comes in and can just be the straw that broke the camel’s back,” he said.

Stephany said a family can request for their loved one to be autopsied either through a private company or through the hospital.

But he said it’s only necessary if there’s a question about how they died.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson,

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.