In a world of COVID-19 conspiracy theories and rampant speculation, sometimes we see a story that just makes us scratch our heads and wonder what is really going on here.
Last week, a group on Facebook called Odessa's Accountability Project released a photo of a young woman who was diagnosed with COVID-19 at Odessa's Medical Center Hospital. She apparently had a plastic bag placed over her head to reduce COVID-19 exposure.
We've been told for years to never place a plastic bag over our heads. It's common sense. And now, a hospital is doing just that to COVID-19 patients? From the post on Facebook:
This 17 year old young lady went to the emergency room in Odessa, COVID positive, because she couldn’t breath. She was humiliated and dehumanized by the staff. Aside from the warning on the bag not to place this over your head, as it could cause suffocation, this is just wrong. The bag is labeled equipment cover and has your typical warning on it. The girls mother said she complained of not being able to breath well, taking off the mask, and was asked to put it back on. The bag was over her head for roughly 30 minutes and she was instructed to save the bag for future use throughout the hospital.
At this point, the comments section of the story obviously went straight for the "sue the hospital card," as you'd expect.
Since then, the page has called out hospital staff and administrators over the practice.
A spokesperson for MCH said that guidelines clearly state that a patient must always wear a mask within the hospital. However, the use of a clear plastic drape or covering for COVID-19 patients during transport can be used if the patient refuses to wear a mask or keep it on or is unable to tolerate a mask. According to the hospital, the patient or their guardian has the right to refuse this form of protection.
Regardless of the hospital's statement, Odessa's Accountability Project's outreach has resulted in hospital staff being threatened with bodily harm, as well as threats to "blow up" the hospital. This also brought out the conspiracy theorists in the crowd to jump in and politicize the situation.
According to the Houston Chronicle, Odessa physician Dr. Richard Bartlett appeared with noted tinfoil hat connoisseur Alex Jones (who needs to have a plastic bag placed over his head) to blast the hospital for "abuse of power." Dr. Bartlett has had issues with the hospital in the past regarding their COVID-19 treatment practices.
“We need to hold local hospital administrators accountable and local doctors accountable,” [Dr. Bartlett] said. “Enough is enough.”
Bartlett has been critical of Odessa and Midland hospital leaders throughout the pandemic for not treating COVID-19 patients with inhaled Budesonide, which he has touted as a “silver bullet” treatment despite a lack of data showing its effectiveness.
To quote Whodini: "The Freaks Come Out At Night."
Regardless, should the hospital have used a plastic bag to cover a patient's head? No. Do we need to feed the whack-a-doodles who feed on stuff like this? No. COVID-19 has made everyone a lot crazy and a little stupid.
Smarten up, kids. And no, do NOT use a plastic bag in place of a face mask. Unless you really want to. It's your call. I'm not stopping you from doing what's right for you.