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Health-Care Workers Are Swamped Again, This Time With Angry Calls From Podcast Listeners

Apple and Google continued to distribute the podcasts after listeners directed ire at hospitals

A person listens to a podcast. 

A person listens to a podcast. 

Photographer: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg
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In January, the staff of Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids, Minnesota, was flooded with tens of thousands of angry phone calls, all with the same concern. Calling in from as far away as Australia, the people were worried that an unvaccinated Covid-19 patient was getting a lower level of care, and wanted to ensure he would be transferred elsewhere. 

Mercy eventually transferred the patient to a Texas hospital. But in the meantime, administrators increased security, and the staff had to set up a new phone system so that unrelated inquiries about patient care could still get through, according to a person familiar with the matter. Tensions grew among staff, who feared that they were going to continue being targeted by furious callers no matter what they did, the person said.