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NPR Caught Spreading Fake News About Hospital Bed Situation in Some Southern States

NPR Caught Spreading Fake News About Hospital Bed Situation in Some Southern States

NPR alarmed readers after reporting on an Alabama heart patient who, according to his family, died after being “turned away from 43 ICUs in 3 states” that were purportedly at capacity with COVID patients. A deeper dive into the story didn’t match the hype.

Not surprisingly, the mainstream media appears to be learning no lessons after instances where they were caught peddling fake news stories about hospital bed situations in various parts of the country, like the KFOR story about how patients who had supposedly overdosed on ivermectin were overwhelming some ambulance services and Oklahoma emergency rooms to the point gunshot victims were allegedly being turned away.

The latest example comes courtesy of NPR, which alarmed readers and viewers alike earlier this week after reporting on an Alabama heart patient who, according to his family, died after being “turned away from 43 ICUs in 3 states” that were purportedly at capacity with COVID patients.

Here’s how they framed the story on Twitter:

In the first several paragraphs of their piece, NPR makes clear that the source for their story was not anyone they’d spoken directly to but rather the man’s obituary, which apparently reporters are trawling for stories just like this one:

Ray DeMonia, 73, was born and raised in Cullman, Ala., but he died on Sept. 1, some 200 miles away in an intensive care unit in Meridian, Miss.

Last month, DeMonia, who spent 40 years in the antiques and auctions business, suffered a cardiac emergency. But it was because hospitals are full due to the coronavirus — and not his heart — that he was forced to spend his last days so far from home, according to his family.

“Due to COVID 19, CRMC emergency staff contacted 43 hospitals in 3 states in search of a Cardiac ICU bed and finally located one in Meridian, MS.,” the last paragraph of DeMonia’s obituary reads, referring to the Cullman Regional Medical Center.

“In honor of Ray, please get vaccinated if you have not, in an effort to free up resources for non COVID related emergencies …,” the obituary reads. “He would not want any other family to go through what his did.”

It’s only when one reads the next paragraph, assuming they’ve even read the story at all beyond the headline, that they find out Mr. DeMonia was actually admitted into the Cullman hospital, but needed to be transferred to another facility for specialized care that apparently that location did not offer:

A spokesperson for Cullman Regional Medical Center, who declined to give specifics of Ray DeMonia’s case, citing privacy concerns, confirmed to NPR that he was transferred from the hospital but said the reason was that he required “a higher level of specialized care not available” there.

Further, though NPR quoted some of the Washington Post’s write-up later on in their own piece, they also failed to point out what the WaPo had noted about how DeMonia had been in the Cullman hospital for some 12 hours before the family allegedly received the phone call about the 43 ICUs:

On the evening of Aug. 23, Ray DeMonia had heart problems and was taken to Cullman Regional. The next morning, about 12 hours after he was admitted, his daughter said her mother got a call saying that the staff had tried 43 hospitals without any luck in getting him a specialized cardiac ICU bed. They were, however, able to find an open ICU bed at Rush Foundation Hospital in Meridian, Miss.

Though the Washington Post quoted a hospital spokesperson as saying such situations were an “ongoing problem” in Alabama hospitals, not one person from the hospital confirmed the daughter’s story about the supposed capacity issues at the 43 ICUs. It wasn’t confirmed for the NPR report nor the WaPo report.

At the very least here, NPR deceived readers by making them believe two things, the first one being that DeMonia was never admitted to the Cullman hospital (false) and the second one being that the hospital couldn’t admit him due to being overwhelmed with COVID patients (also false). The Washington Post earns no brownie points for their story, either, which wasn’t much better.

And to this day, no one in any official capacity will confirm the 43 ICUs claim.

The story prompted renewed calls from some conservatives to defund NPR:

Honestly at this point, can you blame them?

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Knoxville Sentinel claims the pediatric patients with COVID is overwhelming pediatricians and they all want to quit. That story sourced a lot of quotes, but still rings of bullshit.

The ER doc I’ve talked to says he’s not seen nary anyone (other than meth heads) who doesn’t fit the statistical profile of the exact age/weight demographics of those we know to be at extreme risk… so its the magical southern strain of COVID that infects 10 year old kids???

the specialized ICU might explain the 43 hospitals

    Brave Sir Robbin in reply to ronk. | September 16, 2021 at 5:40 pm

    Still odd, as hospital staff should know which facilities had the necessary cardiac care capabilities and would not need to dial 43 different facilities, which is A LOT of hospitals.

    The story does not makes sense or sound right to me, either.

      The Friendly Grizzly in reply to Brave Sir Robbin. | September 16, 2021 at 5:47 pm

      It IS NPR, after all.

      Actually the story does make sense. I was in ER Sat for 7 hr to get an ultrasound on my leg. nobody was there. Never saw a doctor only NP and PAs. Billing was all third party contractors. Hospitals are run awful.

        healthguyfsu in reply to MarkSmith. | September 16, 2021 at 10:34 pm

        They’re run exactly according to the Obamacare plan

        Brave Sir Robbin in reply to MarkSmith. | September 17, 2021 at 2:33 pm

        Sitting in an ER is normal. They actually take you in based on the need to be seen. If it’s not an acute emergency, they let you sit there, because it’s the EMERGENCY ROOM.

        Most people need to go to a ready care and not the ER. If an ER is full, they will move non-acute patients to the main hospital or even tell you to leave. I was rolled out of an ER bay once to lay on a gurney in the hallway because of a mass trauma event (multiple car accident) .Things were slow when I arrived, they saw me, and were evaluating me when all Hell broke loose. I was not that bad off so they just rolled me out into the hallway, and occasionally a nurse would pass by and ask if I was doing OK. Not every patient is equal, in the ER, in the ICU, or the main hospital. There is quite the capacity to shift resources and prioritization as required.

        But the man was admitted. He did not sit in the ER as far as I can tell. Also, there would be no reason to call 43 hospitals. Acute cardiac care capabilities and facilities should have been well known. I doubt there are not even 43 hospitals in all of Alabama and probably just a couple with acute cardiac care and surgical capabilities. In fact, a quick internet search only produced ONE at the University of Alabama though there were FOUR in the Florida panhandle. An acute care center would likely know where spare capacity was if they really could not take a patient.

        In addition, if required, they will move a more stable or patient of less need from an ICU bed to make space.

        He was admitted, assessed, then likely stabilized. Then they sought to move him to another facility with better care options. 12 hours to do all that is not an unreasonable time. They would need to get a properly outfitted ambulance to move him, for example, and there may not have been one local. It may have had to come from the receiving facility. 200 miles away is three and half hours. If it was considered an acute emergency at that point they would have sent a helicopter for transport.

        His closest acute cardiac care facility was the University of Alabama, but there is apparently only one such facility in Alabama, and so it could be full or cardiac patients (not COVID). His next closest options were Nashville, Atlanta, and Meridian, Nashville being about 2 hours away, and both Atlanta and Meridian about 2 hours and 45 minutes away.

        The story does not make sense.

Anyone who is surprised that NRP and WaPo would do this, raise your hand….that’s what I thought.

    henrybowman in reply to Idonttweet. | September 16, 2021 at 6:18 pm

    Your right to keep and bear arms is now obsolete because the government provides armed government-run police to protect you.

    Your right to publish information is now obsolete, because the government provides a public government-run press to keep you informed.

We had a chance to defund and privatize NPR and PBS while we had the house while that corrupt asshole Boehner as Squeaker.

A drunk a coward and a backstabber, Boehner is a useless human being. Same with McConnell, Romney and Graham.

The aptly named: National Propaganda Radio (NPR) once served America, and now it serves whom?

    The Friendly Grizzly in reply to n.n. | September 16, 2021 at 5:41 pm

    Prius-driving studies professors!

      I don’t know a single legitimate, academic field that requires the use of the word “studies” to make it seem legitimate.

      It’s the bullseye for academic bubble areas.

        The Friendly Grizzly in reply to healthguyfsu. | September 17, 2021 at 12:36 pm

        We have Appalachian Studies at ETSU here in town. But, from what I can tell, it is an adjunct to the music department, and as near as I can tell, there is nothing about oppression or other nonsense.

        As a side observation, I have been in their building when the students are doing music, and dear me, those are some talented people.

Why the hell not?

It’s not like they face consequences for pushing laughably blatant propaganda.

Bitch McConnell and Pierre Delecto will never vote to defund them.

    healthguyfsu in reply to Olinser. | September 16, 2021 at 10:36 pm

    No love for Rombot here, but didn’t he actually get roasted by the media for saying he would defund PBS during his POTUS campaign?

    The meme was always that Pierre wanted to kill Big Bird.

NPR is such a manifest disgrace, along with its sister propaganda outlet, PBS. More predictably slavish in their devotion to the State’s/Dhimmi-crat Party apparatchiks’ narrative than Pravda was in the Soviet Union. And, ~50% of the U.S. — we conservatives — are unwillingly and haplessly funding this crap.

    gibbie in reply to guyjones. | September 16, 2021 at 7:27 pm

    Totally agree. Government funded media – what could possibly go wrong?

    Occasionally, they do something good. See “One Child Nation” by PBS, documenting the years of the CCP “one child” policy. They also did a good documentary on the Uighurs.

    But NPR is a ceaseless fountain of leftist propaganda.

Will any of the so-called “journalists be disciplined ?

No. There is no accountability.

That why they all continue to write garbage. It’s what their editors want.

What? Fake News was caught spreading fake news? Color me surprised.

Just looked at the Johns Hopkins website that tracks ICU availability. For the week ending 29 August the report lists full ICU capacity in Alabama. 1588 total ICU beds with 870 for Covid and 758 not Covid. Total percentage listed at 103% with 40 admissions beyond ICU capacity.

Bama has a lot of folks in the hospital, many for Covid but nowhere near exclusively. The reports out of the VA Hospital system showed that 48% of reported Covid reported numbers were in fact not primarily admitted for Covid. These patients were admitted for something else and were tested for Covid. A positive test turned them into a Covid admission for reporting and likely funding/hospital reimbursement reasons despite having mild symptoms or even asymptomatic cases.

IMO, the bottom line is while Covid admission, ICU and case counts are likely inflated the ICU beds are at or near capacity in Alabama. We hit and have maintained roughly 100% ICU bed occupancy since early August here in Alabama. The reason for the admission varies but the occupancy issue is sadly accurate.

Of course the overall ICU availability is subject to a whole other discussion regarding the impacts of Obamacare on closure and consolidations of hospitals in rural/poor areas and the detrimental effects of the Certificate of Need regime which purposefully limits additional hospital capacity to increase profits for existing monopoly healthcare entities.

    healthguyfsu in reply to CommoChief. | September 16, 2021 at 10:39 pm

    Hospitals try to cook their books towards “full ER capacity” to justify more funding. It’s a pretty easy sell if you can make it convincing because the ER is the place where people can least afford to wait.

    Hospitals can just convert other wings to ER or close down these wings to make the ER look full.

      The problem with trying to measure ‘ER capacity’ is that way too many illegals and various rifraff use the ER for crap like flu because they know that they can’t legally turn them away without insurance.

      ACTUAL emergencies are a pretty low proportion of ER goers of most hospitals.

Wonder how much this sudden southeastern breakout of infections has to do with the “FJB” breakout chants of the Southeastern conference of the NCAA?

    CommoChief in reply to scooterjay. | September 17, 2021 at 9:41 am

    In simple terms Air Conditioning. Late July and August in the Southeast has rain. Lots of rain. The temperature is generally 95+ C then add the humidity for a heat index temp of over 100 C. People go back indoors.

    Now that folks are indoors they are in closer contact. Many people in the Southeast still consume a diet built for physical labor. Consuming a 5k or 6k calorie diet but working indoors at a desk with little to no exercise leads to many folks becoming obese.

    Obesity has it’s own issues. Increased odds for heart problems, diabetes. All conditions that make one more vulnerable to severe outcome from Rona. Add in vax hesitancy on top of those conditions and folks going inside to escape the hot, humid weather and it explains a large portion of the cases.

      TempeJeff in reply to CommoChief. | September 18, 2021 at 4:49 pm

      ” The temperature is generally 95+ C then add the humidity for a heat index temp of over 100 C.”

      Ummm… perhaps, try Fahrenheit? Unless, you really think it’s 203 F.

    The Friendly Grizzly in reply to scooterjay. | September 17, 2021 at 12:39 pm

    It’s all that excited exhaling.

So many of their apocryphal “just so” stories focus on the South, or on that vast strange area known as “flyover country.” Do they suppose no-one in their customer base lives there or even knows anyone who lives there? Are they so bubbled that no-one along the entire editorial process said, “hang on, that doesn’t sound very plausible to me”?

Any genealogist will tell you that obituaries are not always accurate sources of information. They can help you find primary sources, but obituaries are not primary sources.

That “43” was probably “four or three”.