A big-time drinker in Montezuma County, Colorado, recently got so drunk they died.
The person’s blood-alcohol content (BAC) was 0.55 — not 0.05, but .55, which is nearly seven times the legal driving limit of 0.08 in Colorado.
A BAC of 0.3 is considered lethal.
So, open and shut case, right? Wrong.
The state claims the person died of coronavirus, not alcohol poisoning.
“County Coroner George Deavers said the person tested positive for COVID-19, but an investigation by him and the pathologist determined the cause of death was ethanol toxicity,” The Durango Herald wrote. “‘COVID was not listed on the death certificate as the cause of death. I disagree with the state for listing it as a COVID death, and will be discussing it with them this week,’” Deavers said.
“Deavers said non-natural fatal events, such an accident or an overdose, take precedence as the cause of death over natural events such as COVID-19. He did not provide the name of the deceased person who tested positive for COVID-19,” The Herald wrote.
“The person who died did not die from COVID-19, but they did test positive for the virus,” said county public information officer Vicki Shaffer. “The state is reporting that death as a COVID death, but our health department wanted to let people know that even though the person did have the virus, they did not die from it.”
The suspect ruling follows another in Ventura, Calif., in which a 37-year-old man who died from an overdose of fentanyl was listed as a COVID-19-related death.
“The reason, said the county’s chief medical examiner, Dr. Christopher Young, is that the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus was deemed a contributing factor, meaning the man, whose name and city of residence are not being released, did not die from drug use alone,” The Thousand Oaks Acorn wrote.
“Fentanyl intoxication is the main cause of death, and the contributing cause was a COVID-19 infection,” Young said in an interview with the Acorn. “They were working together to cause this person’s death.”
Hospitals across the nation are being encouraged to ramp up their COVID-19 death numbers and they get more money from the federal government for every virus death they have.
“We rate the claim that hospitals get paid more if patients are listed as COVID-19 and on ventilators as TRUE,” USA Today reports.
Hospitals and doctors do get paid more for Medicare patients diagnosed with COVID-19 or if it’s considered presumed they have COVID-19 absent a laboratory-confirmed test, and three times more if the patients are placed on a ventilator to cover the cost of care and loss of business resulting from a shift in focus to treat COVID-19 cases.
This higher allocation of funds has been made possible under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act through a Medicare 20% add-on to its regular payment for COVID-19 patients, as verified by USA TODAY through the American Hospital Association Special Bulletin on the topic.