I am asking you, the readers of my pandemic posts, and your friends, to send messages of appreciation to the largely unacknowledged men and women of the Lancaster County Coroner’s Office. (A link is below.)
Unlike most coroners’ offices in Pennsylvania, Lancaster County has an entirely professional staff of forensic examiners, men and women trained over many years to examine those who die in our community and certify their causes of death.
They are not part-time funeral directors, ex-firefighters or ambulance drivers, as in many counties. They are top-of-class medical investigators.
Through the course of this pandemic, they have seen more death than any doctor, nurse or nursing home staffer. They have handled every case of every victim of COVID-19, plus the hundreds of others who have died from other causes.
They have not complained, but they have been overwhelmed by death: the 968 virus deaths, of course, but also last year’s 146 opioid deaths, the second-highest number here ever; and the 458 cardiac deaths, 268 accidental deaths, 82 cancer deaths and 54 suicides.
Their job is one of unending sadness. Doctors, nurses and the staff of care homes can take hope in the recovery of many of their COVID patients. Not so the coroner’s staff. For them, every case is a fatal one.
Their work has been vitally important for county residents. It has given the public precise, verifiable information about how many residents of this county have died of COVID-19 and who they are.
The state Health Department has been unable, or unwilling, to report fully on virus victims. Its reports on nursing home deaths are filled with holes. Two hospitals provide limited information on the ravages of the pandemic. One has ignored the public entirely.
Only the Coroner’s Office, from the first days of the pandemic last March, has provided detailed, accurate information about what the virus is doing to the residents – especially the elderly residents – of this county. From its daily reports, our community has learned the victims’ age, race and home location. That’s information that has helped citizens know how to protect themselves and their families.
So, if you are someone who has read my posts over past months, please thank the 10 men and women of the coroner’s office who have provided this county with the facts necessary to understand who and where the virus was attacking in our community.
Simply click on this link to the Forensic Center’s Facebook page to post a few words of thanks.
One final request. Please share this post with your friends. Thanks, my friends.