Appearing on FOX News Channel's morning show, FOX & Friends, on the opening day of the Democratic National Convention, Howie Carr -- right-wing radio host and Boston Herald columnist (who is also a columnist for the Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper the New York Post) -- decried what he said would be the impact of the convention on Bostonians. In the midst of his rant against the Democratic event, Carr claimed that, as a result of the convention, "[P]regnant women [have been] told to go to suburban hospitals, some of the hospitals have canceled ... elective surgery, chemo radiation treatments have been either postponed, or moved to the early morning hours."
Carr went even further in a July 25 New York Post column: "[C]hemotherapy and radiation treatments have been canceled." Carr's claim runs counter to local news reports. Carr's own newspaper, the Boston Herald, reported on July 20: "[H]ospital, health and public safety officials yesterday advised [pregnant] women to consider alternative travel routes, leave plenty of time to get in, and even call for help"; but the paper made no mention of suburban hospitals.
The Associated Press also reported that doctors and other medical officials have urged expecting mothers to plan ahead but also noted, "[I]f all else fails, Massachusetts General Hospital provided all their pregnant patients with copies of their medical records, just in case they have to go to a suburban hospital for delivery" -- far different from the directive Carr described ("pregnant women [have been] told to go to suburban hospitals").
Chemotherapy treatments have not been "canceled" or "postponed," as Carr claimed; they have only been "moved to the early morning hours" in that, they will start at 6 a.m. and end at 3 p.m. (two hours earlier than the normal hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) so that patients can leave the hospital before peak traffic hours, as Bill Schaller, director of media relations at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, told the New Bedford, MA-based daily newspaper The Standard-Times*. Even Carr's claim that hospitals have "canceled elective surgery" is questionable. On July 22, Boston's WLVI-TV reported, "[D]espite reports that hospitals are canceling elective surgeries, we could not find one Boston hospital which is doing so."
*Correction: When this item was first published, words that appeared in quotation marks and were characterized as The Standard-Times' direct quotation of Mr. Schaller's words were actually The Standard-Times' paraphrase. We regret the error. [back to article]