+
An ER nurse describes patients denying they have COVID—even while they're dying from it

Eight months into the coronavirus pandemic and it feels like disinformation and denial have spread as quickly as the virus itself. Unfortunately, disinformation and denial during a pandemic is deadly. Literally. People who refuse to accept the reality we're living in, who go about daily life as if nothing unusual were happening, who won't wear a mask or keep their distance from people, are preventing communities from being able to keep the pandemic under control—with very real consequences.

An ER nurse in South Dakota shared her experience treating COVID patients—some of whom refuse to believe they have COVID—and it's really shocking. One might think that the virus would become real to people if they were directly affected by it, but apparently that's just not true for some. As Jodi Doering wrote on Twitter:

"I have a night off from the hospital. As I'm on my couch with my dog I can't help but think of the Covid patients the last few days. The ones that stick out are those who still don't believe the virus is real. The ones who scream at you for a magic medicine and that Joe Biden is going to ruin the USA. All while gasping for breath on 100% Vapotherm. They tell you there must be another reason they are sick. They call you names and ask why you have to wear all that 'stuff' because they don't have COViD because it's not real. Yes. This really happens. And I can't stop thinking about it. These people really think this isn't going to happen to them. And then they stop yelling at you when they get intubated. It's like a fucking horror movie that never ends. There's no credits that roll. You just go back and do it all over again."



Doering's Twitter post went viral, and CNN's New Day invited her to come on the show. Her interview is stunning and sad, as she explains how patients who should be spending their final hours talking with their loved ones spend them ranting about how the virus is all a hoax.

"I think the hardest thing to watch," she said, "is that people are still looking for something else and they want a magic answer and they don't want to believe COVID is real. And the reason I tweeted what I did was it wasn't one particular patient, it's just a culmination of so many people. And their last dying words are 'This can't be happening. It's not real." And when they should be spending time Facetiming their families, they're filled with anger and hatred, and it just made me really sad the other night. I just can't believe that those are going to be their last thoughts and words."

Doering explained that nurses can handle people lashing out at them in anger (bless you, nurses) but when they ask patients if they want to Facetime their families when they are clearly not likely to recover and they refuse, it's just sad.

"I think people look for anything," she said, when asked what people think is wrong with them if they don't believe it's COVID. "People want it to be influenza, they want it to be pneumonia...we've even had people say 'Well I think it might be lung cancer.' I mean, something so far fetched, and the reality is, since day one when COVID started in this area in March, you've kind of been able to say if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it's a duck...even after positive results come back, some people don't believe it."

Doering made it clear that not all patients are living—and dying—in such denial. But the deniers are memorable. "It's just a movie where the credits never roll," she said. "You just do it all over again. And it's hard and sad because every hospital, every nurse, every doctor in this state is seeing the same things. These people get sick in the same way, you treat them the same way, they die in the same way, and then you do it over again."

The medical community has learned a lot about how to treat the virus, and Doering says they are managing their patient load fairly well. But the numbers keep climbing. South Dakota has a 50% positivity rate, which is astronomical. (The CDC guidance on school reopenings recommended that schools should only consider opening when positivity rates are below 3%, for a frame of reference.)

The virus is real, the pandemic is real, the illnesses and hospitalizations are real, and the deaths are real. We've got to figure out a way to pull deniers back to reality for everyone's sake, including their own.

Health

A child’s mental health concerns shouldn’t be publicized no matter who their parents are

Even politicians' children deserve privacy during a mental health crisis.

A child's mental health concerns shouldn't be publicized.

Editor's Note: If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 9-8-8. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.


It's an unspoken rule that children of politicians should be off limits when it comes to public figure status. Kids deserve the ability to simply be kids without the media picking them apart. We saw this during Obama's presidency when people from both ends of the political spectrum come out to defend Malia and Sasha Obama's privacy and again when a reporter made a remark about Barron Trump.

This is even more important when we are talking about a child's mental health, so seeing detailed reports about Ted Cruz's 14-year-old child's private mental health crisis was offputting, to say it kindly. It feels icky for me to even put the senator's name in this article because it feels like adding to this child's exposure.

When a child is struggling with mental health concerns, the instinct should be to cocoon them in safety, not to highlight the details or speculate on the cause. Ever since the news broke about this child's mental health, social media has been abuzz, mostly attacking the parents and speculating if the child is a member of the LGBTQ community.

Keep ReadingShow less

Famous writers shared their book signing woes with a disheartened new author.

Putting creative work out into the world to be evaluated and judged is nerve-wracking enough as it is. Having to market your work, especially if you're not particularly extroverted or sales-minded, is even worse.

So when you're a newly published author holding a book signing and only two of the dozens of people who RSVP'd show up, it's disheartening if not devastating. No matter how much you tell yourself "people are just busy," it feels like a rejection of you and your work.

Debut novelist Chelsea Banning recently experienced this scenario firsthand, and her sharing it led to an amazing deluge of support and solidarity—not only from other aspiring authors, but from some of the top names in the writing business.

Keep ReadingShow less

This article originally appeared on 04.15.19


On May 28, 2014, 13-year-old Athena Orchard of Leicester, England, died of bone cancer. The disease began as a tumor in her head and eventually spread to her spine and left shoulder. After her passing, Athena's parents and six siblings were completely devastated. In the days following her death, her father, Dean, had the difficult task of going through her belongings. But the spirits of the entire Orchard family got a huge boost when he uncovered a secret message written by Athena on the backside of a full-length mirror.

Keep ReadingShow less

This article originally appeared on 01.22.19


The legality of abortion is one of the most polarized debates in America—but it doesn't have to be.

People have big feelings about abortion, which is understandable. On one hand, you have people who feel that abortion is a fundamental women's rights issue, that our bodily autonomy is not something you can legislate, and that those who oppose abortion rights are trying to control women through oppressive legislation. On the other, you have folks who believe that a fetus is a human individual first and foremost, that no one has the right to terminate a human life, and that those who support abortion rights are heartless murderers.

Then there are those of us in the messy middle. Those who believe that life begins at conception, that abortion isn't something we'd choose—and we'd hope others wouldn't choose—under most circumstances, yet who choose to vote to keep abortion legal.

Keep ReadingShow less