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The Region

Because of the increased incidence of the fatal disease AIDS, particularly among drug addicts, Los Angeles County Coroner Ronald Kornblum has ordered everyone attending an autopsy to wear protective clothing. “We get a lot of drug addicts,” Kornblum said. “And 2% to 3% are testing positive for AIDS. Every drug addict has to be considered a potential AIDS case.” As a result, Kornblum’s technicians and any police investigators observing an autopsy have been directed to wear protective clothing, provided by the coroner’s office, to protect them from coming in contact with AIDS-infected blood. Included on the list of mostly disposable items are scrub suits, disposable gloves, plastic aprons, face shields, optional ear mufflers, face masks, caps and even goggles to protect eyes. The coroner’s office, Kornblum said, has had a precautionary policy for autopsies since 1984, but now, because of the AIDS risk, “we’re a lot more strict about it.”


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