health

Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s autopsy report for George Floyd

George Floyd

George Floyd

  • CASE TITLE: CARDIOPULMONARY ARREST COMPLICATING LAW ENFORCEMENT SUBDUAL, RESTRAINT, AND NECK COMPRESSION
  • DECEASED: George Floyd aka Floyd Perry
  • SEX: M
  • AGE: 46
  • DATE AND HOUR OF DEATH: 5-25-20; 9:25 p.m.
  • DATE AND HOUR OF AUTOPSY: 5-26-20; 9:25 a.m.
  • PATHOLOGIST: Andrew M. Baker, M.D.

FINAL DIAGNOSES:
46-year-old man who became unresponsive while being restrained by law enforcement officers; he received emergency medical care in the field and subsequently in the Hennepin HealthCare (HHC) Emergency Department, but could not be resuscitated.

I. Blunt force injuries
A. Cutaneous blunt force injuries of the forehead, face, and upper lip
B. Mucosal injuries of the lips
C. Cutaneous blunt force injuries of the shoulders, hands, elbows, and legs
D. Patterned contusions (in some areas abraded) of the wrists, consistent with restraints (handcuffs)

II. Natural diseases
A. Arteriosclerotic heart disease, multifocal, severe
B. Hypertensive heart disease
1. Cardiomegaly (540 g) with mild biventricular dilatation
2. Clinical history of hypertension
C. Left pelvic tumor (incidental, see microscopic description)

III. No life-threatening injuries identified
A. No facial, oral mucosal, or conjunctival petechiae
B. No injuries of anterior muscles of neck or laryngeal structures
C. No scalp soft tissue, skull, or brain injuries
D. No chest wall soft tissue injuries, rib fractures (other than a single rib fracture from CPR), vertebral column injuries, or visceral injuries
E. Incision and subcutaneous dissection of posterior and lateral neck, shoulders, back, flanks, and buttocks negative for occult trauma

IV. Viral testing (Minnesota Department of Health, postmortem nasal swab collected 5/26/2020): positive for 2019-nCoV RNA by PCR (see ‘Comments,’ below)

V. Hemoglobin S quantitation (postmortem femoral blood, HHC Laboratory): 38% (see ‘Comments,’ below)

VI. Toxicology (see attached report for full details; testing performed on antemortem blood specimens collected 5/25/20 at 9:00 p.m. at HHC and on postmortem urine)
A. Blood drug and novel psychoactive substances screens:
1. Fentanyl 11 ng/mL
2. Norfentanyl 5.6 ng/mL
3. 4-ANPP 0.65 ng/mL
4. Methamphetamine 19 ng/mL
5. 11-Hydroxy Delta-9 THC 1.2 ng/mL; Delta-9 Carboxy THC 42 ng/mL; Delta-9 THC 2.9 ng/mL
6. Cotinine positive
7. Caffeine positive
B. Blood volatiles: negative for ethanol, methanol, isopropanol, or acetone
C. Urine drug screen: presumptive positive for cannabinoids, amphetamines, and fentanyl/metabolite
D. Urine drug screen confirmation: morphine (free) 86 ng/mL

Comments: The finding of sickled-appearing cells in many of the autopsy tissue sections prompted the Hemoglobin S quantitation reported above. This quantitative result is indicative of sickle cell trait. Red blood cells in individuals with sickle cell trait are known to sickle as a postmortem artifact. The decedent’s antemortem peripheral blood smear (made from a complete blood count collected 5/25/20 at 9:00 p.m.) was reviewed by an expert HHC hematopathologist at the Medical Examiner’s request. This review found no evidence of antemortem sickling. The decedent was known to be positive for 2019-nCoV RNA on 4/3/2020. Since PCR positivity for 2019-nCoV RNA can persist for weeks after the onset and resolution of clinical disease, the autopsy result most likely reflects asymptomatic but persistent PCR positivity from previous infection.

Andrew M. Baker, M.D.
Chief Medical Examiner
Signed by: Andrew M. Baker MD

In accordance with HCME policy, this report was reviewed by another board-certified forensic pathologist prior to release.

IDENTIFICATION:
Positive identification is confirmed by comparison of antemortem and postmortem fingerprints (Federal Bureau of Investigation).

EXTERNAL EXAMINATION:
When initially examined, the body is in a sealed/locked and properly labeled body bag. Evidentiary paper bags are secured over the hands.

The body is that of a normally developed, muscular and adequately nourished appearing, 6 feet 4 inch long, 223 pound male whose appearance is consistent with the reported age of 46 years. Unfixed lividity is present on the posterior dependent surfaces of the body, except in areas exposed to pressure.

Rigor mortis is established in all of the major muscle groups, relenting with modest pressure. The temperature is somewhat cool following refrigeration.

The scalp is covered with closely cropped black hair in a normal distribution, with some early vertex thinning. The irides are brown, and the pupils are round and equal in diameter. The conjunctivae are somewhat injected, but there are no bulbar or palpebral conjunctival petechiae. There are no facial, periorbital, or oral mucosal petechiae. The external auditory canals are free of blood. The lobe of the left ear is remotely pierced once; the ears are otherwise unremarkable. The nares are patent. The nasal and facial bones are stable to palpation.

A faint, 2 cm maximum dimension V-shaped scar is near the superior end of the left jawline. The teeth appear native and in good repair. Very short black mustache and beard stubble is in the usual distribution on the face, and a small patch of slightly longer black beard hair is just inferior to the lower lip.

The neck is straight, and the trachea is midline. A 0.6 cm diameter circular gray-brown scar is over the middle of the left clavicle. The chest is symmetric. The abdomen is flat. The external genitalia are those of a normal adult male. The testes are descended and free of masses. Pubic hair is present in a normal distribution. The back, buttocks, and anus are unremarkable.

The upper and lower extremities are symmetric and free of clubbing, edema, or absence of digits. Six faint, hypopigmented, haphazardly oriented linear scars ranging up to 1.2 cm long are scattered across the dorsum of the right forearm. Approximately eight gray-tan foci of healing injuries (scars) ranging up to 0.8 cm maximum dimension are scattered across the dorsum of the right hand. Two similar appearing healing injuries (scars), each 1 cm maximum dimension, are on the anteromedial right wrist. A similar appearing, obliquely oriented 2 cm long linear healing injury (scar) is on the medial right wrist. The skin of the first dorsal webspace on the right hand has a 4.5 cm maximum dimension area of brown hyperpigmentation and gray-tan hyperkeratosis. An 8 cm maximum dimension area of brown hyperpigmentation and gray-tan hyperkeratosis spans the first dorsal webspace on the left hand, and has five superimposed healing linear skin cracks ranging up to 1.2 cm long. Similar gray-tan, scar-like areas are on the dorsum of the left hand (over the left 2nd and 3rd metacarpophalangeal joints and the webspaces between the fingers) and wrist in areas ranging 0.2 to 2 cm maximum dimension. A 4 cm maximum dimension flat tan scar is on the dorsum of the left hand over the 5th metacarpal. The nails of the hands are cut or chewed extremely short.

A 4 cm maximum dimension horizontally oriented linear brown scar is over the anterior right hip. A 0.5 cm maximum dimension macular brown nevus is over the anterior right hip. Two flat, hyperpigmented patches, 1.2 and 2 cm maximum dimension, flank the left side of the waistline. A 1.5 cm maximum dimension hypopigmented oval scar is over the right knee. Approximately nine haphazardly oriented linear hypopigmented scars ranging up to 2 cm maximum dimension are scattered over and just inferior to the right knee. Approximately nine hyper- and hypopigmented linear and oval scars ranging up to 2 cm maximum dimension are over the right shin. A faint, 1.5 cm maximum dimension hyperand hypopigmented scar is on the posterolateral left thigh.

Five hypopigmented linear scars ranging up to 5 cm maximum dimension are over, just superior to, and just inferolateral to the left knee. A 3 cm maximum dimension area of slight skin darkening associated with hair follicle plugging is on the distal left calf. The nails of the toes are somewhat elongated, markedly thickened, and discolored yellow-brown. The soles of the feet and the posterior heels are somewhat hyperkeratotic and desiccated appearing, particularly on the right.

TATTOOS:

  • A 42 cm maximum dimension monochromatic blue tattoo of an eagle holding a rifle spans the upper chest, from shoulder to shoulder and from the inferior neck to the distal sternum.
  • An 11 cm maximum dimension monochromatic blue tattoo of a pair of praying hands is on the epigastric abdomen.
  • A 9 cm maximum dimension monochromatic blue tattoo of the name “LAURA” is on the right upper abdomen.
  • A 10 cm maximum dimension monochromatic blue tattoo of the name “CISSY” is on the left upper abdomen.
  • A 28 cm maximum dimension monochromatic blue tattoo of the name “FLOYD” spans both sides of the abdomen just superior to the umbilicus.
  • A 10 cm maximum dimension monochromatic blue tattoo of what appears to be a gravestone with some letters and numbers and the letters “R.I.P.” is on the anterior right forearm.
  • A 12 cm maximum dimension monochromatic blue tattoo of two stars and what appears to be the name “Brittney” and the letters “R.I.P.” is on the proximal anterior left forearm.
  • A 20 cm maximum dimension patterned monochromatic blue tattoo spans the anterior, lateral, and posterior aspects of the left forearm.

CLOTHING AND PERSONAL EFFECTS:

The following clothing items are received with the body in the body bag, in a hospital patient belongings bag, and examined separate from the body at the start of the postmortem examination:

  • Size XXL “Nike” brand blue track pants, extensively cut apart (presumably for medical intervention)
  • A black ribbed sleeveless t-shirt (no tag), extensively cut apart (presumably for medical intervention)
  • Size 3XL “Starting 5” brand black and gray sweatpants, extensively cut apart (presumably for medical intervention)
  • A pair of black dress socks, one with a gray heel and gray toe box

MEDICAL INTERVENTION:

  • Oral endotracheal tube, correctly positioned in the trachea and held in place on the face with a white and tan plastic and elastic band
  • Thoracostomy incision (3.6 cm maximum dimension, somewhat ragged and V-shaped), right lateral chest (approximately six superficial punctures and cuts, ranging from pinpoint to 1.5 cm long, are adjacent to the thoracostomy)
  • Thoracostomy incision (3.9 cm long, somewhat ragged and linear), left lateral chest (a pinpoint cut or puncture is just inferior to the thoracostomy)
  • Curvilinear orange abrasions centered over the sternum (10 cm maximum dimension aggregate), consistent with cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • Intravascular catheter with attached segment of tubing, taped in place just proximal to the left antecubital fossa
    (the tape associated with this catheter has created a localized area of skin slippage in the left antecubital
    fossa)
  • Needle puncture, just distal to the left antecubital fossa
  • Intraosseous catheter with attached tubing, right tibia
  • Intraosseous catheter with attached tubing, left tibia
  • Intravascular catheter with attached tubing, taped in place on the right groin
  • Hospital tag, right great toe
  • Hospital bracelets (2), right wrist
  • Needle puncture, left groin
  • Minimally hemorrhagic horizontal fracture in the sternum, consistent with cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • Non-hemorrhagic fracture of the anterior left 4th rib, consistent with cardiopulmonary resuscitation

EVIDENCE OF INJURY:

Head and Neck

  • 4 cm maximum dimension abraded red-black-purple contusion, lateral corner of left brow
  • Pinpoint red abrasion, just left of the midline of the forehead
  • 6.5 cm maximum dimension red-black abrasion, left cheek
  • 0.6 cm maximum dimension red abrasion, just inferior to left corner of mouth
  • 0.8 cm maximum dimension curvilinear red avulsion, just superior to right side of upper lip
  • Eight pinpoint to 0.2 cm maximum dimension red abrasions, right side of nose
  • Faint blue contusions on the body of the nose (3.5 cm), right naris (1.5 cm), and left naris (1.0 cm)
  • 1.5 cm maximum dimension aggregate of pink-purple mucosal abrasions and lacerations, upper lip
  • 2 cm maximum dimension aggregate of pink-orange mucosal abrasions and lacerations, lower lip

Shoulders and Extremities

  • 8 cm maximum dimension purple contusion with 4.5 cm maximum dimension aggregate of linear red abrasions, anterolateral right shoulder
  • 2 cm maximum dimension red L-shaped scratch, superior right shoulder
  • 14 cm maximum dimension pink-purple contusion with a discontinuous 8 cm maximum dimension dried red-black abrasion, left shoulder
  • 0.2 cm maximum dimension red abrasion, just medial to the right elbow
  • 3 cm maximum dimension faint pink contusion, just medial to the left elbow
  • Pinpoint red abrasion, just medial and distal to the left elbow
  • 1.5 cm maximum dimension purple contusion, proximal right shin
  • 2.5 cm maximum dimension aggregate of red abrasions, distal right shin
  • 0.3 cm maximum dimension red abrasion over the left calf

Wrists and Hands

  • 1.4 cm maximum dimension red and dried black abrasion, dorsum of proximal interphalangeal joint, right index
    finger
  • Two 0.8 cm maximum dimension red and focally dried black abrasions, dorsum of proximal interphalangeal joint, right middle finger
  • Circumferential, discontinuous, 3.5 cm maximum width, roughly parallel pink-purple contusions encircling the
    right wrist, with areas of superimposed abrasions up to 1.2 cm maximum dimension; a 0.9 cm long superficial red scratch is on the lateral right wrist between the patterned contusion and the hand
  • Circumferential, discontinuous, 2.5 cm maximum width, roughly parallel pink-purple contusions encircling the left wrist, with areas of superimposed abrasions up to 1.3 cm maximum dimension
  • On the anterolateral left wrist, in a 3.5 cm long area, the injury transitions to a dried yellow-black abraded furrow before blending into the anterior wrist crease
  • 2.2 cm maximum dimension purple contusion, dorsum of left hand

INTERNAL EXAMINATION:

HEAD: The soft tissues of the scalp are free of injury. The calvarium is intact, as is the dura mater beneath it. Clear
cerebrospinal fluid surrounds the 1380 g brain, which has unremarkable gyri and sulci. Coronal sections demonstrate sharp demarcation between white and gray matter, without hemorrhage or contusive injury. The ventricles are of normal size. The basal ganglia, brainstem, cerebellum, and arterial systems are free of injury or other abnormalities. There are no skull fractures. The atlanto-occipital joint is stable.

NECK: Layer by layer dissection of the anterior strap muscles of the neck discloses no areas of contusion or hemorrhage within the musculature. The thyroid cartilage and hyoid bone are intact. The larynx is lined by intact mucosa. The thyroid is symmetric and red-brown, without cystic or nodular change. The tongue is free of bite marks, hemorrhage, or other injuries. The cervical spinal column is palpably stable and free of hemorrhage.

BODY CAVITIES: Except as previously noted, the ribs, sternum, and vertebral bodies are visibly and palpably intact. Stripping of the parietal pleura reveals no occult rib fractures. No excess fluid is in the pleural, pericardial, or peritoneal cavities. The organs occupy their usual anatomic positions. Adjacent to the left external iliac vessels and left psoas muscle (but not apparently arising from them or attached to them) is a firm, 4 cm maximum dimension thinly encapsulated mass consisting of red-brown and fleshy white-gray areas, admixed with centrally scarred and calcified areas.

RESPIRATORY SYSTEM: The right and left lungs weigh 1085 and 1015 g, respectively. The external surfaces are pink only on the most anterior aspects, and deep red-purple in all other areas. The pulmonary parenchyma is diffusely congested and edematous. No mass lesions or areas of consolidation are present. The pulmonary vascular tree is free of thromboemboli. The tracheobronchial tree is free of blood, edema fluid, or foreign material.

CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEM: The 540 g heart (upper limit of normal for body length is 510 g; upper limit of normal for body weight is 521 g)1 is contained in an intact pericardial sac. The epicardial surface is smooth, with modest fat investment. The coronary arteries are present in a normal distribution, with a right dominant pattern. Cross sections of the vessels show multifocal atherosclerosis, with 75% proximal and 75% mid narrowing of the left anterior descending coronary artery; 75% proximal narrowing of the 1st diagonal branch of the left anterior descending coronary artery; 25% proximal narrowing of the circumflex coronary artery; and 90% proximal narrowing of the right coronary artery. The myocardium is homogeneous, redbrown, and firm. The valve leaflets are thin and mobile. The walls of the left and right ventricles are 1.2 and 0.4 cm thick, respectively. The endocardium is smooth and glistening. Both ventricular cavities are mildly dilated. The minimally atherosclerotic aorta gives rise to three intact and patent arch vessels. The renal and mesenteric vessels are unremarkable.

LIVER AND BILIARY SYSTEM: The 2565 g liver has an intact, smooth capsule and a sharp anterior border. The parenchyma is tanbrown and congested, with the usual lobular architecture. No mass lesions or other abnormalities are seen. The gallbladder contains a moderate amount of green-black bile and no stones. The mucosal surface is green and velvety. The extrahepatic biliary tree is patent.

SPLEEN: The 140 g spleen has a smooth, intact, red-purple capsule. The parenchyma is maroon and congested.

PANCREAS: The pancreas is firm and yellow-tan, with the usual lobular architecture. No mass lesions or other abnormalities are seen.

ADRENALS: The right and left adrenal glands are symmetric, with bright yellow cortices and gray medullae. No masses or areas of hemorrhage are identified.

1 Kitzman DW, Scholz DG, Hagen PT, et al. Age-related changes in normal human hearts during the first 10 decades of life. Part II (maturity): a quantitative anatomic study of 765 specimens from subjects 20 to 99 years old. Mayo Clin Proc. 1988; 63: 137-146.

GENITOURINARY SYSTEM: The right and left kidneys weigh 205 and 225 g, respectively. The external surfaces are intact and smooth. The cut surfaces are red-tan and congested, with uniformly thick cortices and sharp corticomedullary junctions. The pelves are unremarkable and the ureters are normal in course and caliber. White bladder mucosa overlies an intact bladder wall. The bladder contains approximately 80 mL of yellow urine. The prostate is normal in size, with lobular, yellow-tan parenchyma. The seminal vesicles are unremarkable. The testes are free of mass lesions, contusions, or other abnormalities.

GASTROINTESTINAL TRACT: The esophagus is intact and lined by smooth, gray-white mucosa. The stomach contains approximately 450 mL of dark brown fluid with innumerable soft fragments of gray-white food particulate matter resembling bread. The gastric wall is intact. The duodenum, loops of small bowel, and colon are unremarkable. The appendix is present.

SPECIAL PROCEDURES:
Incision and subcutaneous dissection of the anterior and lateral aspects of the wrists demonstrates no foci of contusion or hemorrhage deep to the skin on the right. In the left wrist, there is multifocal fascial hemorrhage, with approximately 3 mL liquid blood accumulation, in the tissue surrounding the flexor tendons. The exposed wrist musculature itself appears free of injury.

An incision from the back of the head to the lower back, extending onto both buttocks, is dissected subcutaneously to the lateral aspects of the neck, the shoulders, and flanks. No areas of subcutaneous hemorrhage, soft tissue contusion, or other occult injury are found in the posterior neck, right and left lateral neck, shoulders, back, flanks, or buttocks.

ADDITIONAL PROCEDURES:

  • Documentary photographs are taken.
  • Postmortem specimens collected and retained: vitreous fluid, femoral blood, urine, liver, and gastric contents.
  • Representative tissue biopsies are retained in formalin for microscopic examination.
  • The dissected organs are returned to the body.
  • Pulled head hairs are placed in a labeled, sealed envelope.

MICROSCOPIC EXAMINATION:

  • HEART (3-5): Cross sections of left ventricular, right ventricular, and interventricular septal myocardium are examined and show the expected microscopic architecture, with readily visible boxcar nuclear changes in the septal and left ventricular sections. Cross sections of coronary arteries, though not all ideally oriented, confirm the gross impression of atherosclerotic narrowing.
  • LUNGS (6): Sections of right and left lung show generally normal overall architecture, without malignancy,
    pneumonia, granulomatous inflammation, or polarizable intravascular foreign material. Many small vessels contain rounded clear vacuoles, consistent with bone marrow embolism from cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
  • LIVER (7): No significant pathologic abnormality (marked congestion).
  • SPLEEN (7): No significant pathologic abnormality.
  • KIDNEY (8): No significant pathologic abnormality (marked congestion).
  • PANCREAS (8): No significant pathologic abnormality.
  • ADRENAL (9): No significant pathologic abnormality (marked congestion).
  • SPLEEN (9): No significant pathologic abnormality (marked congestion).
  • BRAIN (10-12): Sections of hippocampus, cerebellum, cerebral cortex, and midbrain show the expected microscopic architecture, without hypoxicischemic, reactive, neoplastic, or inflammatory changes.
  • LEFT PELVIC MASS (1,2): Decalcified (1) and routinely fixed (2) sections show a proliferation of generally bland appearing cells with small to moderate amounts of eosinophilic cytoplasm and generally uniform nuclei with neuroendocrine features. Occasional nuclei show mild pleomorphism, but mitotic activity is not seen. Much of the tumor is composed of cells in sheets, cords, and nests in a carcinoid-like pattern; other areas vary from vascular to sclerosed and fibrotic. Taken together, the gross and microscopic (H&E-stains) features of the lesion are most suggestive of an extraadrenal paraganglioma. AFB and GMS stains are non-contributory.
  • NOTE: Many of the above tissue sections, particularly those noted to have congestion, contain sickledappearing red blood cells.

2 replies »

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.