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A Florida nurse-turned-undercover journalist who traveled to New York City to work at the hospital hardest-hit by the coronavirus pandemic says she witnessed negligent healthcare practices that very likely increased the COVID-19 death toll.
In an interview Saturday with Fox News, Erin Marie Olszewski, a registered nurse and U.S. Army veteran, said it was an “extremely common,” “everyday experience” for healthcare workers at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens — the “epicenter of the epicenter” for coronavirus in the U.S. — to not properly isolate patients infected with the virus.
“And, there was really no reason for that,” she said. “There were resources that were not being utilized. For instance, the Comfort ship, the Javits Center, and they had Samaritan’s Purse. So, we had options that weren’t utilized.”
Olszewski was referring to the USNS Comfort, one of the Navy’s two hospital ships, which President Donald Trump dispatched to New York City to take in non-coronavirus patients, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-established field hospital at the Javits Center.
(Source: Fox News)
By the time the outbreak in New York City was subsiding and the Comfort was ordered to return to its homeport in Norfolk, Va. in late April, the ship’s medical crew was, in fact, treating coronavirus patients — just not many, and, for that matter, not many patients, period. The ship only treated 182 total patients, 70 percent of whom were diagnosed with COVID-19 — out of a capacity of 1,000 beds.
Meanwhile, the Javits Center also remained largely empty, even after nursing home managers and eldercare center administrators pleaded with Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to allow them to send coronavirus-infected patients there rather than admit them to facilities filled with elderly patients far more susceptible to contracting the disease.
New York fucked up so bad on so many levels and you wouldn’t gleam a hint of it reading the top major newspapers or watching 90% of cable news shows.
— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) May 7, 2020
In her interview with Fox News, Olszewski also said that Elmhurst personnel were not making full use of rapid COVID-19 test kits and procedures.
“They were using the ones that were sent out which would be a five to 10-day turnaround,” she said. “In the meantime, these patients were put on the floors and they were intermingled with COVID positive and then COVID rule-out patients.”
Elmhurst was the hardest-hit hospital in New York City for a time, but there were others that dealt with a rapid influx of a high number of coronavirus patients as well. According to the most recent data at the time of this writing from Johns Hopkins University, there are more than 62,700 confirmed cases of the virus in Queens County, N.Y., and about 5,200 deaths — the vast majority of those occurring in the county’s nursing homes and eldercare facilities. According to The Wall Street Journal on Friday, New York deaths account for roughly seven percent of all coronavirus deaths worldwide, and 27 percent of deaths in the U.S. Still, though, in a city of more than 8.2 million people, the infection rate and death toll are both small.
Nevertheless, according to Olszewski, the infection and death rates could have been even smaller if hospital staff had practiced better isolation and allowed to use additional available treatments.
“So, in New York, the doctors were not able to prescribe the hydroxychloroquine. And, the main treatment in New York City in Elmhurst Hospital was to essentially put these patients on a vent. And, they really refused to try any alternative treatments even though they were successful in other states,” Olszewski said.
“For example, I’m from Florida. My hospital was successfully treating patients with the hydroxychloroquine and the zinc with a completely different number of deaths,” the Army vet noted.
Hydroxychloroquine is a very successful anti-malarial drug once touted as a miracle cure that became controversial in its potential to treat coronavirus only after President Trump brought it up. He later admitted to reporters that he himself had taken it.
Olszewski also ripped Cuomo’s early response to the virus outbreak.
“Think early on, and this is my opinion, Governor Cuomo requested all these vents — 30,000 vents back in March,” she pointed out. “How he would know that we would need 30,000 vents beats me. All I know is I feel that they felt the need to use them in order to be correct and not look bad.
“And that was at the patients’ expense,” she noted further.
A YouTube video produced by Journeyman Pictures recounts Olszewski’s experiences and notes that, among other things, the vast majority of patients who required ventilators did not survive.
You can watch it here:
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