Senior doctors in New Hanover County, North Carolina were caught on video discussing how to “inflate the real COVID numbers.”
A Zoom video conference call recording between physicians and a marketing director at Novant Health New Hanover Regional Medical Center revealed an internal discussion to manipulate the COVID case and death data. Dr. Mary Rudyk is seen telling Director of Marketing Carolyn Fisher that she wants hospitals to become more “scary to the public” by inflating the number of COVID patients so they can tell individuals, “If you don’t get vaccinated, you know you’re going to die.”
Rudyk, a doctor who previously served as the hospital’s Chief of Medical Staff, openly stated her intentions at the end of the leaked clip, “So I just want to say we have to be more blunt, we have to be more forceful, we have to see something coming out: ‘If you don’t get vaccinated, you know you’re going to die’.”
“I mean let’s just be really blunt with these people,” said Rudyk amid laughter. The clip begins with Fisher talking about “how we get information out to the community on meaningful numbers” to promote vaccine acceptance through the hospital’s website and social media channels using what she describes as graphics that show data such as numbers of unvaccinated people in the Intensive Care Unit, including the percentage of deaths.
Fisher is interrupted by Rudyk, who states, “I guess my feeling at this point in time is, maybe we need to be completely a little bit more scary to the public.” Rudyk elaborates, “There are many people still hospitalized that we’re considering post-COVID” and asks how they can include this group in the hospital’s pro-vaccination propaganda.
Fisher asks Rudyk if she means the hospital should simply mention the number of patients the hospital has handled since the beginning of the pandemic, to which Rudyk replies, “That’s better still, and that’s something that I can take to someone else,” before explaining she means patients who have been moved from the COVID ward, but are still hospitalized.
President Stevens interjects to inform Fisher “we’re calling those ‘recovered’ now,” adding that “I do think from our standpoint we would still consider them a COVID patient.” Rudky said in response, “I think that that needs to be highlighted as well, because once you’re off isolation you drop from the COVID numbers, that’s exactly right.” Stevens then told Fisher “We can talk offline about how we run that up to marketing.”
The hospital characterized the strategy call as, “A frank discussion among medical and communications professionals on how we can more accurately convey the severity and seriousness of what’s happening inside of our hospitals and throughout our communities. We continue to be concerned with the amount of misinformation in our communities and consistently strive for more ways to be transparent and tell the whole story.”