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Coronavirus: families raise questions over deaths classed as ‘Covid’

Hard questions are being raised by the families of three people declared by authorities as deceased from Covid-19 last week.

These concern a 54-year-old woman with no underlying health problems, who passed at Limassol general hospital; and a 61-year-old woman with comorbidities who died at Paphos general hospital.

In addition, there’s the case of an 80-year-old man, with serious underlying conditions, who died at Nicosia general hospital’s ICU last Thursday.

In all three incidents, relatives and acquaintances have serious doubts as to the official cause of death – Covid-19 – and they’ve taken to social media.

Regarding the 54-year-old woman, well-known forensic pathologist Marios Matsakis has spoken at length with the deceased’s family.

He later put out a statement that read: “From the detailed background given to me, I’m convinced as a medical examiner that the death of the 54-year-old is not due to the coronavirus.

“This was also the opinion of the doctors who treated the unfortunate woman during the short time she was in hospital, unconscious, before she passed.”

Matsakis added that the deceased’s family did not request an autopsy for “personal reasons and because funeral arrangements have already been made…”

In any case it’s understood that as a precaution authorities do not allow for autopsies where Covid-19 deaths are concerned, which is absurd, Matsakis told the Cyprus Mail.

“A number of coronavirus deaths are now being questioned, so clearly an autopsy should be done by an independent medical examiner if requested.

“Autopsies are done often on deceased persons who had a communicable disease – HIV, hepatitis, bovine spongiform encephalopathy and so on. And all necessary precautions are taken. So why not for Covid?”

On the 61-year-old woman who died at Paphos general, her distressed sister-in-law Voula Demosthenous had a great deal to say on Facebook.

Her relative was suffering from serious ailments – among others heart disease and diabetes. It’s understood the woman was confined to a wheelchair and had not left her house for eight months.

On the morning of Friday, November 13, she experienced breathing difficulties and was rushed by ambulance to Paphos general. A PCR (coronavirus) test was done upon her admission, and it came out negative.

Ten hours later, the woman died. A second PCR test performed close to her time of death came out positive.

Demosthenous asked how it’s possible for her sister-in-law to have contracted Covid-19 in the space of 10 hours and even – somehow allowing for that infection – it would have turned up in the PCR test.

What’s more, the family were tested for Covid after the 61-year-old woman died, and all showed negative.

At any rate, per protocol for Covid deaths, the 61-year-old was laid to rest in a closed casket – a painful experience for those mourning the passing of a loved one.

Likewise regarding the passing of a 80-year-old man last Thursday, November 12, his granddaughter has complained about the treatment of the patient and also the cited cause of death as Covid-19.

Antigoni Panayiotou described the ordeal to the Cyprus Mail.

She said her late grandfather Andreas Neophytou, from Limassol, was admitted to hospital after a scan showed serious kidney problems – of which he suffered for years – which necessitated dialysis.

But on testing positive for coronavirus – he showed no symptoms whatsoever – the elderly man was transferred to Nicosia general’s urological ward.

No dialysis was performed, and while in hospital the man complained of foul treatment – such as meals being left at the door for him to pick up. He also claimed he had no buzzer to alert nurses to his needs.

After spending several days there, the family were contacted and told that doctors had to put him under heavy sedation because he was being “uncooperative.”

After that, his condition took a sharp turn for the worse, and relatives were later informed that one of his lungs had failed. He died shortly after.

Prior to that, the family had requested that a second coronavirus test be done on the 80-year-old, so that if he tested negative he could be released and put on dialysis. Their request was rebuffed, Panayiotou told the Cyprus Mail.

“We don’t believe he died of Covid. It doesn’t make sense. And the overall treatment was awful.”

On how a death is recorded as due to Covid or with Covid, a health ministry spokesperson told the Cyprus Mail that the determination is made by a software system called ‘Iris’.

It’s a widely used automated system that codifies multiple ailments for a deceased person and then, based on the information entered from a death certificate, algorithms determine the final cause of death.

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