Claims of impropriety regarding COVID-19 patients at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance in Edinburg have prompted a local lawmaker to look deeper into the matter, finding the hospital has denied the claims and is pledging to prove it.
The claims stem from a Twitter thread that includes screenshots of text messages from individuals claiming to work at the hospital and photos purportedly taken inside, including photos of individuals that appear to be patients.
The Tweet was circulated widely, reaching tens of thousands of people.
State Rep. Terry Canales says he reached out to DHR about the Tweet. According to Canales, the hospital said the claims were untrue and that they could provide evidence to show that.
“They said that they had seen the Tweet. They said that it was patently false. They assured me that it was not happening and that they were conducting an investigation into who this third party individual making these claims was,” he said. “They did clarify to me that they would be responding and that they had, obviously, the ways and means to disprove and discredit and show that this was a false attack. So I’m waiting to see their response, and I have no reason to doubt them.”
Asked about the claims Tuesday, DHR Board Chairman Dr. Carlos J. Cardenas declined to comment, but extended an invitation to The Monitor to report on conditions in the hospital in person.
“I’d like you to come and see for yourself,” he said.
Cardenas referenced various national media outlets that have already reported from inside DHR’s COVID-19 wards.
“Our focus right now is to continue to heal this community and save lives. That’s what we’re doing,” he said.
Canales says as far as he knows, that’s true.
“I know many of the doctors that practice there; they’re pillars of the community, and the idea that anyone of those physicians would allow … things of that nature seem egregious to the point that it’s just not credible,” he said. “In this world anything is possible, the real question is is that probable, and I just don’t think it’s probable.”
Canales acknowledged that the claims were difficult to investigate in-person, but called the rumors “egregious” and said he didn’t believe in any sort of coverup regarding them.
“There’s no human being that would coverup an activity that’s as egregious and as horrible as what they’re accusing,” he said.
According to Canales, the photos of patients call the quality of the source into question and could even carry legal ramifications.
“A nurse that would have been taking pictures of patients and putting them online in and of itself is a violation of HIPAA and I don’t know many other ethical violations of laws. That in itself raises a question of source, of where is this coming from,” he said, referring to federal restrictions barring the release of patient information.
Canales said the Rio Grande Valley’s frontline healthcare workers deserved the benefit of the doubt.