The COVID-19 pandemic has become so politically divisive as misinformation about the virus continues to spread online. Individuals that believe the virus is a hoax can become a danger to themselves and the rest of society.
Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City recently found that out the hard way. The facility had to increase security after temporarily closing its ICU in response to online threats against Mercy and its workers.
“There have been many baseless allegations and attacks online this past week about our hospital and co-workers. We have done our absolute best to respond with dignity and respect toward people with a difference of opinion, but we must defend our co-workers,” the hospital said.
The online attacks seem to be responding to certain COVID-19-related protocols at the hospital.
Administrators say the hospital received several online messages referring to a “Fauci protocol” named after Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Chief Medical Advisor to the President. The messages claimed that the hospital was receiving government vouchers for using certain medications on COVID-19 patients.
“There is no such thing as a Fauci protocol. There are no government vouchers for using certain medications or treatments for our patients with COVID-19,” the hospital said.
The hospital added that it does not “make money from the heartbreaking deaths of our patients,” and that “our co-workers are not murderers.”
“Our co-workers are incredible, devoted caregivers who responded to a calling to dedicate their lives to being the hands and feet of Jesus and healing the sick. They follow evidence-based medicine and fight to save the lives of every patient in their care, and they’re heartbroken when it’s simply not enough. They have endured enough during the past two years, and we will not stand by and allow them to be attacked,” the hospital said.
The facility started receiving unwanted attention after a member of the Ekklesia Church was being treated for COVID-19 at Mercy. The patient was ultimately unhappy with their treatment and members of the church started protesting outside the hospital. The patient’s wife reportedly started researching untested COVID-19 treatments. When she asked doctors to administer these treatments, they refused.
“They actually are currently giving him budesonide, but they are giving him such a small dosage it has no effect on his body,” claimed Daniel Navejas, the Pastor at Ekklesia Oklahoma.
The church sent out a letter to the congregation saying that one of their members passed away. The letter also called the doctor who treated him a “murderer.”
“For anyone to criticize the integrity of those whose sole purpose is saving lives, let alone accuse them of murder is patently false,” said Jean Hausheer, M.D., a member of the Healthier Oklahoma Coalition.
The church also mentioned hospital death camps. “Many of the hospitals are using ‘Fauci protocol’ and the protocol is literally killing people,” said the pastor.
On Facebook, Navejas wrote that “Dr. Fauci a mass murderer and Mercy in OKC is complicit to assist.”
Mercy filed an emergency restraining order saying the “risk of harm to Mercy is imminent.”
“These events, whether physical or mental abuse of healthcare workers, does not help the workforce,” said Dr. David Kendrick with the Healthier Oklahoma Coalition.