‘Who’s Going to Pay for It’ Nurse Story Reappears on Reddit

The Facebook post from 2020 told of a patient dying from COVID-19 who spent some of his last moments alive worrying about healthcare costs.

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An old Facebook post from Derrick Smit or Smith asked who's going to pay for it about a hospital patient dying of COVID-19 who was asking about healthcare finances.
Image via David Sacks/Getty Images

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An old Facebook post that was said to have come from a nurse named Derrick Smit has once again gained prominence. It was originally posted on April 3, 2020, and was titled, “Who’s going to pay for it?” While the account was named “Smit,” his real name was mentioned as being Derrick Smith.

The post took off once again in early 2022 as a screenshot on the r/antiwork subreddit on Reddit. The subreddit’s description read: “A subreddit for those who want to end work, are curious about ending work, want to get the most out of a work-free life, want more information on anti-work ideas, and want personal help with their own jobs/work-related struggles.”

The post told of a hospital patient dying from COVID-19 near the beginning of the pandemic in the U.S. According to the story, a man spent some of his final moments alive on the phone with his wife, telling her he was worried about how his family would pay for his healthcare costs:

“Who’s going to pay for it?”

Last words I’ll never forget // the response my patient gasped out (between labored breaths) to me and my team, after we explained that he needed to be intubated and placed on a ventilator. We then called his wife to have him speak to her for what was likely his last opportunity, as many patients do not recover once tubed.

This situation is by far the worst thing I’ve witnessed in my collective 12 years of critical care & anesthesia. Next-level heartbreak = having to hear a dying patient use his last words to worry about healthcare finances.

This country is truly a failed state, and it’s so sickening to witness firsthand, more blatantly than ever.

“As COVID-19 spreads around the world, now impacting over 700,000 people in 194 countries and territories, there is a clear difference in how well various countries are containing the pandemic. Those countries that have universal, publicly financed health care systems are better able to coordinate their responses and care for those who are ill. They have been the fastest to slow the spread of the virus.”

https://truthout.org/articles/the-uss-wave-of-hospital-closures-left-us-ill-equipped-for-covid-19/

EDIT: thank you for the overwhelming support/friend requests. I can best be reached or added via Derrick Smith, CRNA.

At the time Smith made the post, he was interviewed by CNN, Business Insider, and Vice. All three stories appeared to confirm that Smith was a “certified registered nurse anesthetist at a New York City hospital.”

We reached out to him with several questions about his “who’s going to pay for it” post and will update this article should we receive a response.

Snopes is still fighting an “infodemic” of rumors and misinformation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, and you can help. Find out what we’ve learned and how to inoculate yourself against COVID-19 misinformation. Read the latest fact checks about the vaccines. Submit any questionable rumors and “advice” you encounter. Become a Founding Member to help us hire more fact-checkers. And, please, follow the CDC or WHO for guidance on protecting your community from the disease.


Sources:

Elassar, Alaa. “A Nurse Revealed the Tragic Last Words of His Coronavirus Patient: ‘Who’s Going to Pay for It?’” CNN, 11 Apr. 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/11/health/nurse-last-words-coronavirus-patient-trnd/index.html.
 
Flowers, Margaret. “The US’s Wave of Hospital Closures Left Us Ill-Equipped for COVID-19.” Truthout, 31 Mar. 2020, https://truthout.org/articles/the-uss-wave-of-hospital-closures-left-us-ill-equipped-for-covid-19/.
 
Mahbubani, Rhea. “A New York Nurse Laments His Coronavirus Patient’s Last Words before Intubation: ‘Who’s Going to Pay for It?’” Business Insider, 8 Apr. 2020, https://www.businessinsider.com/nyc-coronavirus-patient-last-words-affordable-treatment-intubation-derrick-smith-2020-4.
 
Rinkunas, Susan. My Dying Coronavirus Patient Was Concerned About Their Hospital Bill. 8 Apr. 2020, https://www.vice.com/en/article/5dmv3q/my-dying-coronavirus-patient-was-concerned-about-their-hospital-bill-whos-going-to-pay-for-it-viral-facebook-post.