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April 15 2021
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No Murder Charge in Alleged Mercy Killing; Anti-Vaxxers Gain New Allies; COVID-21?
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Story by Kristina Fiore - Story Source
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  Some of the best investigative reporting on healthcare This past week in healthcare investigations  
 
Welcome to the latest edition of Investigative Roundup, highlighting some of the best investigative reporting on healthcare each week.

Nurse Who Unhooked Oxygen Charged

The Indiana nurse accused of removing a COVID-19 patient's oxygen last year has now been charged with a felony, the IndyStar reported -- but not murder, manslaughter, or any homicide-related crime.

Connie Sneed, LPN, was charged only with practicing medicine without a license, although that could bring 6 years in prison and a fine of $10,000. She was fired from Wedgewood Healthcare Center in Clarksville, Indiana, in May, about a week after the incident.

Sneed had written a revealing Facebook post: "I just want y'all to know the hardest thing I've ever done in 28 years start a patient on O2 for 4 days 12 LPM. with a non-rebreather mask," she wrote. "I asked him on day 4 if he's tired he said yes I said do you want me to take all this off for you and let you go and fly with the angels and he said yes."

"I took it all off of him I went in the hallway and I cried and I let him go and he passed away 1 hour and 45 minutes after I left." The patient was a 72-year-old man who had been diagnosed with COVID-19 a few days earlier.

Another nurse at the facility reported Sneed to administrators there. The Indiana Department of Health and the state attorney general subsequently conducted an investigation, which led to the charges.

From Election Fraud to Anti-Vax

Right-wing groups that once railed against Donald Trump's election defeat have now switched to opposing COVID vaccination, the New York Times reports.

Prominent voices from both the "Stop the Steal" and anti-vaccine movements helped organize rallies March 20 against vaccines and other public health measures in U.S. cities including Portland, Oregon, and Raleigh, North Carolina, as well as in Australia, Canada, and other countries around the world.

Also, an April conference with the tagline "Learn How to Fight Back for Your Health and Freedom" will have appearances from Trump allies like Michael Flynn and Sidney Powell, along with well-known anti-vaxxers.

Much of the messaging is playing out on Telegram, a social media channel frequented by QAnon supporters and other conspiracy theorists.

Many channels link to the FDA VAERS database, which has registered more than 2,000 deaths among those who received COVID vaccines, with more than 126 million doses administered -- though none of the deaths have been linked directly to the vaccines yet.

Experts told the Times that the "more vaccine opponents succeed in preventing or at least delaying herd immunity ... the longer it will take for life to return to normal and that will further undermine faith in the government and its institutions" -- which may be the point.

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