Welcome to the latest edition of Investigative Roundup, which features some of the best investigative reports in healthcare every week.
Nurse who unhooked charged oxygen
The Indiana nurse accused of removing oxygen from a COVID-19 patient last year has now been charged with a felony, the IndyStar reported – but not murder, manslaughter or any other homicide related crime.
Connie Sneed, LPN, has only been charged with practicing medicine without a license, although this could result in 6 years in prison and a fine of $ 10,000. She was fired from the Wedgewood Healthcare Center in Clarksville, Indiana, in May, about a week after the incident.
Sneed had written a revealing Facebook post: “I just want you to know the hardest thing I have ever done in 28 years to start a patient on O2 for 4 days 12 LPM. With a mask without a rebreather,” said she wrote. “I asked him on day 4 if he was tired, he said yes, I said do you want me to take it all off for you and let you go and fly with the angels and he said yes.
“I took everything away from him, I went down the hall and I cried and I let him go and he died 1 hour and 45 minutes after I left.” The patient was a 72-year-old man who had been diagnosed with COVID-19 days earlier.
Another nurse at the facility reported Sneed to the administrators there. The Indiana Department of Health and the state attorney general subsequently investigated, which led to the charges.
From electoral fraud to anti-Vax
Right-wing groups that once denounced Donald Trump’s electoral defeat have now turned to the COVID vaccination, New York Times reports.
Prominent voices from the Stop the Steal and anti-vaccine movements helped organize rallies on March 20 against vaccines and other public health measures in US cities such as Portland, Oregon and Raleigh, North Carolina, as well. than in Australia, Canada and other countries around the world.
Additionally, an April conference with the slogan “Learn to Struggle for Your Health and Freedom” will have appearances from Trump allies like Michael Flynn and Sidney Powell, as well as well-known anti-vaxxers.
Much of the messages are broadcast on Telegram, a social media channel frequented by QAnon supporters and other conspiracy theorists.
Many channels are linked to the FDA’s VAERS database, which has recorded more than 2,000 deaths among those who have received COVID vaccines, with more than 126 million doses administered – although none of the deaths have yet been linked directly to vaccines.
Experts told the Time that “the more successful opponents of the vaccine succeed in preventing or at least delaying herd immunity … the longer it will take for life to return to normal and this would further undermine confidence in the government and its institutions” – this that may be the point.
COVID-21: What’s Next?
The terror of COVID-19 that existed around this time last year is no longer, but the way we respond to the so-called “COVID-21” could have lasting repercussions, argues James Hamblin, MD, in Atlantic.
While it is not clear exactly what will follow, Hamblin has offered various scenarios adopted by different experts. Monica Gandhi, MD, MPH, of the University of California, San Francisco, argues that T cell-mediated immunity will help us get through. Even if antibody levels in previously vaccinated / exposed people decrease, T cells recognize the virus and prevent serious illness. (This hypothesis was further supported by research published Wednesday, after the Hamblin article appeared.) At worst, COVID-19 becomes a bad cold; at best, it has completely disappeared.
On the other end of the spectrum, biotech legend William Haseltine, PhD, now of Harvard, said that while T cells can continue to recognize the virus, it does not guarantee protection. Other seasonal coronaviruses return each year, making herd immunity unlikely.
Another possibility lies somewhere in between: the disease persists and the number of lives it takes each year becomes acceptable. Hamblin called this the “most dangerous” scenario because it ignores the impact of the disease on other countries around the world.
“Avoiding this myopia is the central challenge of COVID-21,” Hamblin wrote. “This extends to the systemic problems highlighted by this pandemic. Much of the damage caused by the virus has come indirectly, by exacerbating food and housing insecurity, for example, or by restricting access to services. medical care.”
He called for “concerted action to eradicate a potentially fatal disease.” Despite lingering unknowns about the exact duration of immunity and the number of cases we will continue to see, we now have the knowledge and resources to become much more certain very quickly. If we beat COVID-21, the numbering could end there. “
Hospitals in survival mode
Hospital administrators say their facilities are operating in “survival mode,” battling staff shortages and financial instability, according to one February survey conducted by the Office of the Inspector General of the HHS.
The investigation found that hospitals were struggling to balance resource-intensive treatment of COVID-19 patients with efforts to resume routine care. Staff shortages have affected patient care, and trauma and burnout have taken a toll on the mental health of staff, administrators said.
In addition, increased pandemic spending, coupled with lower income from loss of normal procedures, has contributed to financial instability, they reported.
Administrators said the federal government could provide support by providing better information on COVID-19 for hospitals – such as ways to release COVID patients safely – and helping close staffing gaps hospital. Financial assistance and measures to speed up COVID vaccination would also be welcome.