CDC investigating death of Miami doctor who died after getting vaccine

CDC and Pfizer are investigating death of ‘very healthy’ Miami obstetrician 16 days after he received the vaccine and suffered a brain hemorrhage

  • Miami obstetrician Gregory Michael, 56, died on January 3, 16 days after receiving the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine 
  • Wife Heidi Neckelmann said he was ‘very healthy’ prior to receiving the shot
  • He succumbed to a stroke brought on by acute IDP – Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura – a blood disorder caused by a lack of platelets 
  • Pfizer says it is ‘actively’ investigating the case but does not believe there is any direct connection to the vaccine
  • The death is also being investigated by the Florida Department of Health and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The CDC and Pfizer are investigating the death of a Florida doctor who died from a rare blood condition two weeks after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

Dr Gregory Michael, 56, an obstetrician with a private practice at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, died last Sunday – 16 days after he was vaccinated.  

In a Facebook post confirming his death, his wife Heidi Neckelmann said Michael – a ‘very healthy 56-year-old’ – suffered a brain hemorrhage ‘due to a strong reaction’ to the shot. 

Pfizer on Tuesday said it is ‘actively investigating’ the death, but does not believe there is ‘any direct connection to the vaccine’ at the time. 

‘There have been no related safety signals identified in our clinical trials [or] the post-marketing experience thus far,’ Pfizer said in a statement to the New York Times. 

‘Our immediate thoughts are with the bereaved family.’  

Dr Gregory Michael, 56, an obstetrician with a private practice at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, died on January 3 

Pictured: Dr. Michael with his wife Heidi and daughter 

The drugmaker said it was a ‘highly unusual’ and severe case of a condition called thrombocytopenia that can prevent blood from clotting and cause internal bleeding.

‘To date, millions of people have been vaccinated and we are closely monitoring all adverse events in individuals receiving our vaccine,’ the company said.

‘It is important to note that serious adverse events, including deaths that are unrelated to the vaccine, are unfortunately likely to occur at a similar rate as they would in the general population.’ 

Michael’s death is being investigated along with the Florida Department of Health and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Samples from an autopsy conducted last Wednesday have been sent to the CDC, said Darren Caprara, director of operations for the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner Department.

‘The cause of death is pending the completion of studies’ by the medical examiner and the CDC, Caprara said in an email Friday.

The CDC said in a statement that it planned to evaluate the case ‘and provide timely updates on what is known and any necessary actions.’ 

If his death is linked directly to the vaccine, Dr. Michael would be the first known case in the world of a person dying after having it. A spokesman for Pfizer told the firm was looking into his death but they did not believe it had any link to the vaccine 

The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration track potential side effects through a national electronic database, with reports typically coming from health care professionals and vaccine manufacturers.

It is usually not possible to determine whether a problem was actually triggered by a vaccine simply from information submitted to the database, the FDA notes on its website. 

Side effects reported to regulators can be related to existing medical conditions, prescription medications or other health factors.

Heidi said her husband was ‘pro-vaccine’, but urged people to be ‘aware that side effects can happen, that it is not good for everyone and in this case, destroyed a beautiful life, a perfect family, and has affected so many people in the community.’

‘Do not let his death be in vain please save more lives by making this information news,’ she wrote in a post. 

Dr. Gregory Michael was active, healthy and had no pre-existing conditions before getting the jab on December 18

The grieving wife said Michael – her ‘best friend’ and partner of 28 years – was active, healthy and had no pre-existing conditions before getting the jab on December 18.

Yet he died from a stroke hemorrhagic stroke after suddenly developing a rare autoimmune illness that causes the body to destroy its own platelets, the tiny fragments that help blood to clot.

Heidi, 58, thinks the groundbreaking Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine may have somehow been the trigger.

‘In my mind his death was 100 percent linked to the vaccine. There is no other explanation,’ she told in an interview last week, fighting back tears.

‘He was in very good health. He didn’t smoke, he drank alcohol once in a while but only socially. He worked out, we had kayaks, he was a deep sea fisherman.

‘They tested him for everything you can imagine afterwards, even cancer, and there was absolutely nothing else wrong with him.’

Dad-of-one Gregory suffered no immediate reaction to the injection but three days later he was taking a shower and noticed petechiae – spots of red that indicate bleeding beneath the skin – on his feet and hands.

When he checked himself into Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, the hospital where he works and had the groundbreaking vaccine, medics discovered he was suffering from an acute lack of platelets.

‘All the blood results came back normal except for the platelets which came back as zero,’ Heidi said.

‘At first they thought it must be a mistake. So they did the test again and this time did a manual count which is supposed to be more accurate. This time it showed just one platelet.

‘He felt 100 percent, he was normal, energetic, happy. But they said you cannot go home, this is incredibly dangerous, you could suffer a brain bleed and die.’

Normally doctors would expect a range of between 150,000 to 450,000 platelets per microliter of blood.

According to a harrowing account posted on his wife’s Facebook, blood tests revealed the popular medic has a platelet count of zero

Neckelmann did not disclose any allergies or pre-existing conditions which may have contributed to her husband’s death

Their primary function is to help the blood clot and prevent bleeding.

Heidi says doctors tried frantically to reverse what they diagnosed as an acute immune disorder known as ITP – idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura.

In people with ITP, also known as severe thrombocytopenia, the immune system mistakes platelets for foreign objects and instructs the spleen to destroy them.

It can be acute or chronic, lasting six months or more, striking on its own or in conjunction with other autoimmune conditions, certain cancers or during pregnancy.

Kids can get ITP after a viral infection such as the flu or mumps, while in adults, triggers can include HIV, hepatitis or H. pylori, a type of bacteria that causes stomach ulcers.

Gregory’s wife insists, however, that had he none of these illnesses.

One solution to ITP is to remove the spleen but Heidi says he wasn’t a candidate because his blood wasn’t able to clot, making the operation too dangerous.

Gregory’s platelet count, doctors decided they had no choice.

However he died from a hemorrhagic stroke – when blood from an artery bleeds into the brain – before he could undergo the surgery.

‘They gave him medicine. They gave him an incredible amount of platelet infusions, I’m told all the platelets in Miami Dade County,’ Heidi said.

‘But no matter what they did, nothing helped. The blood tests came back with zero platelets every time.

‘My husband had conversations with the doctors who said it was highly probable that the vaccine was the cause.

‘It seems possible to me that somehow it instructed his body to attack the wrong thing, the platelets.’

If Gregory’s fatal condition is traced directly back to the groundbreaking Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine, it would be the first known death linked to it.

The jab was heralded as an extraordinary breakthrough in the fight against Covid-19 after it was analyzed by global health bodies in record time and cleared for use in the US one week before Gregory had it.

Instead of a live virus, it uses mRNA, or messenger RNA, which is essentially a set of instructions which tells cells how to produce a spike protein, the same protein which is found on the surface of the coronavirus.

This triggers the immune system to make antibodies against the spike protein so that if the real coronavirus enters the body it can be recognized and destroyed.

‘My husband had a few questions but he’s certainly not anti-vaccine,’ Heidi said. ‘He wanted to protect his patients and his family from Covid. He believed it would be safe.’

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