Novant responds to leaked webinar critical of the unvaccinated population

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A clip from a local healthcare provider’s meeting is going viral.

The video that is being shared across social media features three Novant / New Hanover Regional Medical Center employees, the president of NHRMC Shelbourn Stevens, Doctor Mary Kathryn Rudyk, and Director of Marketing Carolyn Fisher, discussing COVID communication.

Dr. Rudyk can be seen and heard saying, “Maybe we need to be completely a little more scary for the public.”

They discuss including men and women still in the hospital after recovering from COVID in COVID case numbers.

“There are many people still hospitalized that we’re considering post-COVID,” Rudyk continued, “so how do we include post-COVID in the number of patients we have in the hospital?”

“So is that all the people who have been in the hospital since the beginning of COVID?” Carolyn Fisher asked. They clarified it meant post-COVID patients still in the hospital after testing negative.

Towards the end, Dr. Rudyk says, “you know if you don’t get vaccinated, you are going to die. *laugh* Let’s just be really blunt with these people.”

A spokesman with the hospital released the following statement in response to the video.

“The team members involved in this excerpt of an internal meeting are seeing the highest level of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths so far in this pandemic – despite having safe and effective vaccines widely available. This was 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. Specifically, the data we have been sharing does not include patients who remain hospitalized for COVID-19 complications even though they are no longer COVID-19 positive, so it does not provide a complete picture of the total impact of COVID-19 on our patients and on our hospitals. 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. The continued rise of hospitalizations makes it evident that we have more work to do to reach our communities with these messages.”
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