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Opinion: Stop using Hamlin’s cardiac arrest for anti-vax agenda

Opinion: Stop using Hamlin’s cardiac arrest for anti-vax agenda

Editor’s note: Jonathan Reiner, MD, is a CNN medical analyst and professor of medicine and surgery at George Washington University. The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author. See more opinion on CNN



CNN

The survival and recovery of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin after he collapsed during last week’s Monday Night Football game has been a happy, but all too real, demonstration of the importance of immediate and immediate CPR in the crucial first minutes after a concussion. sudden cardiac arrest But while Hamlin’s near-death experience traumatized his family, his teammates, the NFL and the millions who witnessed his fight live on television, for others it has become another poignant opportunity to promote vaccine misinformation.

If you don’t know how to do CPR, watch this

In the first quarter of the game, with the Cincinnati Bengals leading the Bills 7-3, Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins. he caught a short pass By quarterback Joe Burrow. Hamlin sped toward him and ran into Higgins at the 50-yard line. Both players seemed poised for impact, Higgins dropping his right shoulder and Hamlin spreading his arms for the attack. When they collided, Hamlin’s left chest absorbed Higgins’ blow and both players went down.

For those watching the game, it looked like a normal game. But then, seconds after Hamlin stood up, he suddenly fell backwards onto the grass.

The televised effort to save the 24-year-old’s life was heroic but difficult to watch as he was taken off the pitch in an ambulance after several minutes – which seemed like an eternity.

As ESPN commentators and stunned fans around the world tried to make sense of what they had just witnessed, the internet exploded with a feeding frenzy of baseless rumours.

Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point USA, repeated a baseless anti-vaccine conspiracy theory. the tweet, “This is a tragic and all-too-familiar sight now: athletes suddenly collapsing.” The tweet has been viewed nearly 12 million times.

Dr. David Drew Pinsky (aka “Dr. Drew”), internist and television personality, he tweeted similar language, “So disturbing. Another athlete suddenly fell.”

Although the tweets did not directly mention Covid-19 vaccines, the implications were clear.

Former New York Times columnist and a prolific opponent of vaccination Alex Berenson He wrote in Substack the next day, “When I saw the video of what happened, my immediate reaction – beyond fearing for Hamlin’s life – was the same as most of you, I suspect. Did Damar Hamlin go into cardiac arrest? Were the mRNA vaccines ultimately responsible, perhaps causing the myocarditis that left him weak.’

And Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia he tweeted: “Before covid vaccines we didn’t see athletes dying on the playground like now… How many people are suddenly dying? It’s time to research covid vaccines.

Throughout the pandemic, right-wing media and personalities have repeatedly questioned the safety of Covid-19 mRNA vaccines, fueling the baseless claims of vaccine skeptics. On Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show the night after Hamlin’s collapse, Dr. Peter McCullough, a Dallas cardiologist and vocal critic of Covid-19 vaccines, suggested that “vaccine-induced myocarditis” could have caused Hamlin’s episode.

Carlson he told his audience, “Hamlin was still lying on the field receiving CPR when self-described medical experts in the media, people of unproven medical ethics, effectively witches, decided to use his life-threatening tragic injuries as an opportunity to spread further. More propaganda about the Covid shootings. “It couldn’t have been a shot,” they told you. “Shut up.” But they’re lying. They don’t know that.”

In the same show, Carlson stated athletes are dying from the Covid-19 vaccine, “Since the start of the vax campaign, there have been a total of over 1,500 cardiac arrests in those leagues and two-thirds of them have been fatal,” he said.

Those statistics about the deaths of athletesPromoted by Carlson, it was taken from a letter published in a Scandinavian magazine whose sole attribution was “GoodSciencing.com” (which is as credible as it sounds).

This is not the first time that a tragedy has been used to promote Covid-19 vaccine misinformation. In December, after the sudden death of football reporter Grant Wahl, social media was ablaze with cruel and false rumors that Wahl’s death was caused by the vaccines his wife, Dr. Celine Gounder, advocated.

An autopsy in New York later found that Wahl died of an unrelated ruptured aortic aneurysm.

Ass Gounder later stated in a written opinion Written for the New York Timesshe wanted to share the truth about the cause of her husband’s death to quell rumors that it was the result of a Covid-19 vaccine.

There is actually no evidence that athletes are dying from vaccines, and we know a lot about their safety. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, More than 650 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine They have been administered in the US, and their safety profiles are well documented. Contains potential vaccine adverse events Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).

Earlier this week, Hamlin, who has since returned home from the hospital, underwent a “comprehensive medical evaluation,” according to the Bills, but no reason for his cardiac arrest it has been made public. However, Hamlin’s cardiac arrest was likely the result of “commotio cordis” seconds after absorbing Higgins’ blow. The unusual but well-described phenomenon, Latin for “heart disturbance,” is the result of a potentially fatal arrhythmia caused by trauma to the chest at a specific and vulnerable time in the heart’s electrical cycle.

So why did Hamlin do so well? The short answer is that he was lucky enough to collapse the steps of a large team of trained medical responders who recognized he was in cardiac arrest, quickly began CPR, and then revived him with an automated external defibrillator.

Hamlin reportedly asked when he woke up in the hospital, “Who won?” Now we know. Hamlin won.





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