The coronavirus can make even a short fall deadly. A Croatian construction worker fell from a 10-foot ladder while building a family home, but his cause of death was COVID-19, according to the doctor’s report in the Journal of Forensic Pathology.
The unnamed 51-year-old builder suffered forehead cuts and facial bruises and died at the scene despite falling less than 10 feet to a yard. The autopsy showed that COVID-19 killed him. He was disoriented when he fell because his lungs were blocked as a result of acute respiratory distress syndrome, a potentially fatal condition caused by COVID. He tested positive for the virus.
“During the week preceding his death, he had been complaining of headache, fatigue, fever, cough, chest discomfort and shortness of breath,” the journal report stated. “He had refused the suggestion to see a doctor and had kept working until the moment he died.
“Traumatic findings suitable to explain sudden death were absent,” according to the report. “However, lungs histopathology analysis revealed diffuse alveolar damage with massive capillary congestion.” Acute respiratory distress syndrome denies oxygen to vital organs and normally requires hospitalization.
“If I had ARDS, the top of a ladder is not where I would want to be,” University of East Anglia professor Paul Hunter told the Daily Mail. “Looking at the post-mortem report, the severity of the lung and other changes due to COVID-19 would be enough to lead to death and they do say that the fall injuries were probably not life-threatening in themselves.”
The construction worker is the most unlikely of deaths among the 1,113 fatalities attributed to COVID in Croatia. There have been reports from the medical community of many deaths being attributed to COVID, in instances where it appears COVID was not directly the cause.