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COVID-19 denial, doctors dismayed at misinformation


Dr. Matthew Trunsky didn’t hold back in his response: “You’re welcome to go, but you’ll be dead before you get to your car,” he said.

Such exchanges have become too common for medical workers, who are weary of COVID-19 denial and misinformation that has made it harder to treat unvaccinated patients during the Delta-driven boom.

The Associated Press asked six doctors across the country to explain what types of misinformation and denials they see on a daily basis and how they respond to it.

Here are their stories:

When patients tell Dr. Vincent Shaw that they don’t want the COVID-19 vaccine because they don’t know what’s going on in their bodies, he prepares a list of ingredients for Twinkie.

He also commonly hears patients say that they haven’t done enough research about vaccines. Rest assured, he tells them, the vaccine developers have done their homework.

Then there are the fringe explanations: “They’re putting on a tracker and it makes me magnetic.”

Another explanation left him speechless: “The patient could not understand why it was given to him for free, because humanity in itself is not good and people are not good and no one will give anything. There’s no such thing as a good nature. And I didn’t hold back from that.”

People who do get sick in mild cases insist that they have natural immunity. “No, you’re not Superman or Superwoman,” he tells them.

He said one of the biggest issues is social media, as reported by many patients who describe what they saw on Facebook in deciding against vaccination. That mindset has evoked memories about many Americans who earned their degrees at the University of Facebook School of Medicine.

“I’m like, ‘No, no, no, no, no.’ I shake my head, ‘No, no. That’s not right, no, no. Wait, wait, just stop looking at Facebook.'”

DALLAS ER DOCTOR: Baffled by how he ‘lost all credibility’ with anti-vaccine patients

Dr. Stu Kaufman told patients that they were afraid of the side effects of the vaccine. They do not rely on the regulatory approval process and raise unproven concerns that the vaccine will harm their fertility. He said the most unexpected thing someone told him was that “the mRNA vaccine actually contained poison” – a baseless rumor that originated online.

He is obsessed with pushback.

“If you have a gunshot wound or a stab wound or you are having a heart attack, you want to see me in the emergency department,” he said. “But as soon as we start talking about a vaccine, all of a sudden I’ve lost all credibility.”

He said the key to overcoming hesitation is to find out where it originates. She said when people come to her with concerns about fertility, they can point to specific research showing the vaccine is safe and that their issues are unfounded.

But he says there is no hope of changing the minds of those who think vaccines contain poison. “I probably won’t be able to show you anything that would convince you otherwise.”

And he thinks he might change people’s minds about vaccines if they can follow him for a shift as he walks by the beds of sick and dying people, almost all of whom aren’t vaccinated. Has happened.

Kentucky: Political views clearly come to the fore after diagnosis

Dr. Ryan Stanton recently had a patient who started his conversation by saying, “I’m not afraid of any China virus.” From that point on, he knew what he was up against when dealing with patient politics and misguided beliefs about the virus.

Stanton accused people like far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones of spreading some of the misinformation that has taken root among his patients. Among them is that the vaccine contains embryonic cells. Another said it was “a simple fact that the vaccine has killed millions.”

“Indeed,” he said, “it couldn’t be more wrong.”

It’s hard to see, especially after going through the initial boom. For the last time in his worst innings, an elderly nursing home patient came close to death. He hadn’t seen his family for months, so staff drove him outside to the ambulance bay so that his relatives could say goodbye from 20 feet away. He drew a picture of the scene so that he could remember the horror.

There was hope after vaccines arrived, but then there was a slowdown in delta versions and vaccinations.

Stanton said, “It really amazes me with the number of people who have such great fears, conspiracy theories about vaccines and who are honest to God, going for anything including veterinary medicine to get better.” Will try.”

Michigan pulmonologist: Facebook post highlights his frustration

For Trunsky, the vaccine pushback became so intense that he turned to Facebook to describe the anger he faced on a daily basis at his hospital in Troy, Michigan. The post listed eight encounters in the past two days alone in which COVID-19 patients sought unproven treatments or not getting vaccines because of misinformation-fuelled.

Example number 5 was a patient who said he would rather die than get the vaccine. Trunsky’s response: “You can get what you want.”

They’ve heard a slew of misinformation about the vaccine: they say it’s not proven and is only experimental when in fact it isn’t. Others tell him that the vaccine is a “personal choice and the government shouldn’t tell me what to do.” They have also heard patients tell them that they are very ill and they do not want to risk the side effects of the vaccine. A young mother told her that she had not been vaccinated because she was breastfeeding, although her pediatrician and obstetrician urged her that it was safe. He had to be hospitalized but eventually got a shot.

Others, however, take their anger out on health care providers. Some threaten to call lawyers if they don’t get a prescription for ivermectin, a drug commonly used by veterinarians to kill insects and parasites. The drug can cause harmful side effects and there is little evidence that it helps with coronavirus.

He is estimated to have cared for 100 patients who have died since the pandemic began, including the man who threatened to walk out of the hospital.

Illinois Family Doctor: Traces Misinformation Back in Scripture, Nicki Minaj

Dr. Carl Lambert hears a lot of absurd misinformation from his patients. Some come from Old Testament, some from rapper Nicki Minaj.

Some of it is the stuff of Internet conspiracy theories, such as vaccines having a chip that will handle their DNA.

“Scientifically impossible,” says the family doctor in Chicago. He’s also heard patients tell him the vaccine would weaken their immune system. He replied: “Immunology 101. Vaccines help your immune system.”

Recently she received a flurry of messages from patients who were concerned about damage to their testicles — a rumor she eventually traced back to a false tweet Minaj alleging that the vaccine causes impotence.

“And I was like, ‘This is weird. It’s a little insulting.’ So a lot of counseling that I wasn’t expected to do.”

He said that some wrong information has been given from the pulpit. People send him preachers’ sermons saying that the vaccine is “unrighteous or contains something that will mark you,” a reference to a poem about “the mark of the beast” in Revelation that some Christians refer to as not being vaccinated. give.

“There’s almost a mixture of kind of fear… and saying, “Hey, if you do that, you’re probably not as loyal as you should be, like a Christian.”

Most common, however, are patients just wanting to wait, uneasy with how quickly the vaccine was developed. But he warns them, “Please don’t try to wait for a pandemic. A pandemic will win. “

He said his job is “a lot to dismantle what people have heard,” answering their questions and reassuring them that “vaccines work just like we did when we were kids.”

Recently he has had some luck in changing his mind. “I’ve had patients who probably said four months ago ‘You’re wasting your time. Dr. Lambert, I don’t want to hear you talk about it.’ And they’ll come back and say, ‘Hey, you know what? I was watching the news. I’ve seen some stuff. I think I’m ready now.’

UTAH DOCTOR: Fear of side effects of vaccine, then fear of dying

When Dr. Elizabeth Middleton talks to COVID-19 patients about why they haven’t been vaccinated, she often cites the fear of side effects. But as they get sick and sick, a different kind of fear arises.

“They have this kind of sinking look about themselves, like ‘Oh, my God. This is happening to me. I should have been vaccinated,'” said the pulmonary critical care doctor at the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City.

She often hears that the vaccine was developed too quickly. “Who are you to judge the speed of science?” she wonders.

It is also disappointing for some patients to think that there is a “secret agenda” behind getting vaccinated.

“If everyone is forcing us to do this or everyone wants us to do this, there must be something wrong,” the patient tells him. “And my response to that is, ‘They’re urging you to do this because we’re in an emergency. It’s a pandemic. It’s a national and international crisis. That’s why we’re pushing it.'”

She says reaching out to patients and their families is a “delicate line.” She tries not to disrupt the patient-doctor relationship by pushing the vaccines too hard. But often people who are on ventilators do not need to explain.

“They’re like, ‘Tell everyone they have to be vaccinated. I want to call my family. They need to be vaccinated.'”

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