Undercover nurse: New York hospital failed to properly isolate coronavirus patients

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A Florida nurse turned investigative reporter who was working in New York at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic reported Saturday that she witnessed a careless practice first-hand in her hospital.

In an interview on Fox – Friends Weekend with host Jedediah Bila, Army veteran Erin Marie Olszewski explained that it was an “extremely common,” “daily experience” for Queens Elmhurst Hospital not to properly isolate coronavirus patients.

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“And there was really no reason for that,” she said. “There were resources that weren’t being used. For example, the ship Comfort, the Javits Center, and they had Samaritan’s Purse. So we had options that weren’t used.

According to Olszewski, Elmhurst also did not use COVID-19’s rapid tests.

“They were using the ones that were sent, which would be five to 10 days,” she said. “In the meantime, these patients were put on the floor and they were mixed with positive covid patients and then with patients excluded from COVIDE.”

Although new cases of coronavirus have declined in recent months — with New York City finally entering phase one of its reopening plan — the pandemic has hit New York City harder than any other state.

Elmhurst was one of the epicentres of the virus in New York. Recorded videos of the situation at the hospital quickly went viral online.

According to data provided by Johns Hopkins University, Queens County, N.Y. has had more than 62,700 confirmed cases with about 5,200 deaths. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that the death toll in New York accounted for seven percent of deaths worldwide and 27 percent of deaths in the United States.

Emergency room nurses collect flowers donated to hospital staff on a ramp outside the Elmhurst Hospital Emergency Hospital after a neighbour dropped them off on Saturday, March 28, 2020. The Queens Borough Hospital has been heavily taxed to treat coronavirus patients in recent weeks. New York leads the nation in the number of cases, according to Johns Hopkins University, which keeps a tally running. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

“For example, in New York, doctors have not been able to prescribe hydroxychloroquine. And, the main treatment in New York at Elmhurst Hospital was essentially to put these patients on a vent. And, they really refused to try alternative treatments, even though they succeeded in other states,” said Olszewski Bila. “For example, I’m from Florida. My hospital successfully treated patients with hydroxychloroquine and zinc with a completely different number of deaths.

Hydroxychloroquine — an antimalarial drug once heralded as a miracle cure — has been involved in controversy since President Trump introduced it into the discussion. The president later told reporters that he was taking it himself.

On June 4, the Lancet, a respected medical journal, reviewed a high-profile study that suggested that hydroxychloroquine increased the mortality rate in hospitals when taken by people with COVID-19. The report led the World Health Organization to end its trials of the drug.

Finally, Olszewski took a hit at Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s initial response to the pandemic’s grip on the Big Apple.

“Think early, and that’s my opinion, Governor Cuomo asked for all these vents – 30,000 vents in March,” she said. “Om sure he would know that we would need 30,000 vents beats me. All I know is that I feel they felt the need to use them in order to be correct and not look bad.

“And it was at the patients’ expense,” she concluded.

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A YouTube video produced by Journeyman Pictures sharing Olszewski’s experience was released on Tuesday. Since its release, health workers such as Dr. Zubin Damania, founder of Turntable Health — or ZDoggTM on YouTube — have refuted his claims, calling her a conspiracy theorist and anti-vaxxer with a personal agenda.

There is now a petition Change.org calling for an investigation into his career.

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