National File has obtained a recording of a Zoom video conference call between physicians and a marketing director at Novant Heath New Hanover Regional Medical Center, a group of 20 hospitals, clinics, and offices that treat patients in North Carolina and South Carolina.
In the recording, Mary Rudyk, MD tells Director of Marketing Carolyn Fisher and another hospital employee that she wants the hospitals to become more “scary to the public” by inflating the number of COVID-19 patients, and by using messaging that falsely tells individuals “If you don’t get vaccinated, you know you’re going to die.”
After the first speaker seems to answer a question about how COVID-19 patient counts are determined and shared with the public, MacDonald responds, “I guess my feeling at this point in time is, maybe we need to be completely a little bit more scary to the public.” She then introduces her idea to inflate the total number of COVID-19 patients by counting patients who recovered. “There are many people still hospitalized that we’re considering post-COVID, but they’re not counted in those numbers,” Rudyk explains, “So how do we include those post-COVID people in the numbers of the patients we have in the hospital?”
At this point, Fisher, apparently confused, asks Rudyk to clarify if she is suggesting the hospital release the total number of patients treated at the hospital “since the beginning of COVID,” which Rudyk says is an even better idea.
“That’s better still, and that’s something that I can take to someone else, but I think those are important numbers. The patients that are still in the hospital, that are off the COVID floor, but still are occupying the hospital for a variety of reasons,” said Rudyk, before a male doctor interrupted to inform her that those patients are considered “recovered.”
Still, she persists: “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.” The male doctor agreed, “Carolyn, we can talk offline about how we run that up to marketing,” before being cut off by Rudyk.
“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,’” Rudyk said, laughing. “I mean let’s just be really blunt with these people.”
Since the video surfaced on social media, the hospital has released a statement claiming that the “team members involved” in the meeting are stressed and frustrated that more people are not taking one of the controversial vaccines. However, the hospital clarified that Rudyk’s suggestion was not taken: “The data we have been sharing does not include patients who remain hospitalized for COVID-19 complications even though they are no longer COVID positive.” However, the hospital then suggests it may start inflating its count, as Rudyk suggested, “it does not provide a complete picture,” the hospital noted.