Perspectives on the Pandemic - Episode Nine "The Epicenter Nurse"

Perspectives on the Pandemic - Episode Nine "The Epicenter Nurse" 


Elmhurst Hospital in Queens was the epicenter of the nation’s epicenter. Initially ventilators were described as being in short supply and patients would die without them. But were ventilators the right treatment, especially when you consider that 60-90% of people placed on ventilators don’t survive? 

Erin Marie Olszewski, a military nurse retired in 2012 as sergeant to become a civilian nurse, provides information about the disproportionate deaths of Americans of color, the distortion around Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) orders, the disregard for proper PPE standards, and the clustering of positive COVID-19 patients with non-COVID-19 patients. She spent nearly a month working at the Elmhurst Hospital in Queens New York, a public hospital servicing primarily low income, ethnic minorities. While the nation is protesting racial injustice triggered by the senseless death of George Floyd, this story of racial injustice through inhumane “patient care” needs to be heard. The images of refrigerated trucks with body bags being loaded on them behind Elmhurst hospital is etched in the minds of many Americans. Here is our chance to understand the story behind these horrifying images. 

(portions of the transcript)

(4:28-5:59) Erin reviews test results of patients that were confirmed “not detected” for COVID- 19 but are labelled in the chart as “COVID-19 confirmed” and placed on ventilators. 

(6:48-7:14) “A lot of them (patients) are on Medicaid or Medicare, they are poor, they are from a lower class. We are at a public hospital and they need the funding so they take them and tell them if they don’t get on a vent they probably won’t survive. But the reality is that if they get on that vent, the likelihood of them walking out of the hospital is slim to none.” 

(7:28-8:30) “You don’t have actual doctors that know critical care, ICU Dr’s on these floors. There is a dentist and there are residents. Residents are essentially students and they have no idea what they are doing. I actually had to police a resident because he wrote an order for me to run Versed which is a medicine that you have to be really careful with because you could kill someone with it, at quadruple the speed of what you should be running the dose at. Had I not known that then I would have easily killed a patient and that would have been ok under their COVID standards. Everything is a wash, no one is held accountable for anything and these people that are on vents are essentially, these residents are practicing their skills on them. They are practicing central lines and they are practicing these invasive procedures that are really unnecessary.” 

(8:31-8:39) Interviewer asked “what is the percentage of black, Latino or white, what is the racial composition?” She responded, “Hispanic and black are the majority, and Asian.” 

(9:05 - 9:19) Half the people in the hospital have tested positive for COVID but the entire hospital is COVID. “So half the people are not COVID but they are on COVID floors.” 

(9:30-10:00) Undercover video footage documenting non-COVID patients in same room as COVID patients. 

(10:01-10:23) “They are banking on the fact that they will get it because they are already immune compromised...they will put them in the same room so you have a COVID with a non- COVID, they don’t even care. We have enough rooms where they can be separated now because it’s not as busy as it was four weeks ago, but they don’t care, they are just putting them together.” 

(10:23-11:14, 12:38-12:50) Video footage documenting that patients are getting COVID because hospital is giving it to them. 

(12:51-15:10) “We have in the United States, a rapid test, it’s 45 minutes, do you have COVID or don’t you. They are not doing the rapid test’s too expensive, they do a 5-7 day test. In the meantime, they admit them onto COVID units. So, the non-COVIDs, the rule outs, are going to COVID units to wait for their results even though we have a rapid test. I don’t know why; it doesn’t make any sense to me. I asked a Dr. (13:51-14:10). I compare this hospital to a third world country; I’ve been in a third world country hospital in Iraq. The Iraq hospital is better than this one...this hospital is treating low income (mostly) people and it almost makes me feel like they think these people are disposable. And they are not, they are people, people are not disposable, especially the ones that are struggling day in and day out and are the hard workers trying to reach that American dream... But they are brought to this place where nobody cares. 

(15:19 -16:31) Monetary incentive to diagnose COVID – “In the hospital I’m in right now, it’s all COVID. Every single floor is COVID. They made it that way for a reason, in my opinion, a person cannot come to the floor unless they have a COVID diagnosis...They are admitting people for “COVID rule out”. So this guy was probably admitted COVID rule out, tested him and it came back negative, they probably already did something where they now needed to call him COVID, in the hopes that if they are putting him on a COVID floor and there are nurses going from room to room that he will get it and then they will be backed when he does pass that he had’s 29,000 per patient (if a vent is used).” 

(17:42 -22:23, 23:05-24:50, 26:57- 27:30, 28:20-29:49, 30:40- 32:30) Audio and video recording of dispute over patient that had clear CODE orders to resuscitate, but nurses were given verbal orders to not resuscitate. Patient was 37 yrs old, presented to hospital with respiratory distress probably from anxiety, did not have COVID and died because they intubated him and did not resuscitate. 

(25:10-26:07) “These residents are stone cold, they don’t view people as people anymore... a lot of us were shocked, within a few days, you could see what was going on. You almost feel like you are literally living in the twilight zone, you feel like you are the only sane person among a 

bunch of insane people and it’s scary because these are the people that others are trusting to take care of them.” 

(27:29-28:00) “I’m seeing all these negative tests and they are putting them on these vents hopeful that they will get it. They are being put on these COVID floors. It’s murder, it’s straight up setting these people up for failure based on money.” 

(33:09-33:45) She reports in her hometown, they were using “non rebreathers” (a bag that helps people more naturally breathe) instead of vents. “We treated them fatality rate was zero” 

(36:11-37:50) “You have to remember there is no family with these patients, so they are alone, in a hospital by themselves during a pandemic that they are terrified of which is likely what brought him in (37 yr old) in the first place, otherwise he’s totally healthy. And you have Drs, they think they are doctors, but they are residents, they are doctors with absolutely zero experience...telling them they have a choice. They could likely die from this or they could be saved by getting a tube that will help them breath. They don’t call it a vent. That’s it, they get the sedation, go on the vent and never wake up. He’s in a body bag....The vent is blowing people’s lungs out.” 

(38:57-41:00) Interviewer asks: “In your home state where you were treating people, what would the protocol be?” She stated, “It depended on each individual person but we definitely would not go immediately to ‘your going to need a vent’...we are not a public hospital, that makes a huge difference. What I am seeing it’s the public hospitals in other states too, that need the money. In our hospital they would treat based on the individual. We were using the hydroxychloroquine and zinc, that protocol. We didn’t have anyone that died, I’m in a pretty big city...” Interviewer asked “why do you think it’s (hydroxychloroquine) has been demonized so much?” She stated, “because it’s working and then people wouldn’t need vents.” 

(44:40-45:00) “In New York, the governor put a ban on it (hydroxychloroquine). Why? What made him a medical professional now to make these decisions and intrude on the Dr. patient relationships? ... They want to vent, he wants to be right. They requested all these vents, so they want to use them.” – Executive Order 202.10 issued March 23, 2020. 

(1:02:00 -1:04:00) Interviewer asked her why did New York get hit so much harder? “I was asking myself back home why is New York (so much harder it), is it because that many people crunched in together? Ultimately what I found is that the hospitals here were already struggling. I think they shutdown multiple hospitals because they couldn’t afford to keep them open...Not everyone has COVID, there are more forced cases because they are admitting them. That’s the difference between places like New York and Michigan, that were “hit the hardest”, they are admitting these patients as possible COVID, rule out COVID when maybe they just had a little congestion.” 

(1:04:00 – 1:10:34) This is her heartfelt message of why she is sharing the things she has. I highly recommend watching this section. 

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