Comedian Kathy Griffin has been released from a Los Angeles hospital and is recovering at home from an apparent abdominal infection. But Griffin still doesn’t know if she has coronavirus, due to an ongoing nationwide shortage of tests.
Earlier this week, Griffin slammed President Donald Trump for lying about the availability of coronavirus tests. Above a photo of herself in an emergency-room coronavirus ward, Griffin wrote that even though she was experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, the hospital was unable to test her because she didn’t meet CDC criteria.
Griffin later confirmed her account in an interview with the LA Times.
After experiencing severe vomiting and diarrhea early this week, Griffin had a phone consultation with her doctor, who advised her to go to an urgent-care clinic, the Times reports. An urgent-care doctor sent Griffin to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where she ended up in a COVID-19 unit.
“I remember vividly the doctor telling me … ‘I’m going to send you to Cedars ER today because I don’t think I could get you in 13 days from now,’” Griffin told the newspaper, adding that this freaked her out.
At the hospital, Griffin said she was surprised by the lack of personal protective equipment in the COVID-19 unit, with some staff not even wearing masks.
“Frankly, when they said the corona ward, I thought I would be walking into the white suits with blue-taped ceilings, everything,” she said. “I kind of expected them to put me in a shower room and all that — but as recently as [Tuesday], there’s no cavalry that’s coming in handing out millions of [test] swabs.”
Griffin received a chest X-ray showing her lungs were clear, and an abdominal CT scan that revealed the infection. She was given the option of being admitted to the hospital, where she might be more likely to eventually receive a coronavirus test, but chose to return home and self-isolate.
Griffin said doctors at both the urgent-care clinic and the ER wanted to test her for coronavirus, but were unable to do so.
“The doctor was going through the boxes and going through the boxes [on a form] and she kept saying, like, ‘Ugh, because of the lungs, the fever and the kind of cough … you don’t meet the CDC requirements,’” Griffin said. “The realization when they told me the guidelines was, ‘Wow … I now know not to come back unless my lungs are full with what feels like pieces of shattered mirror, unless I can’t breathe and unless my fever is 103 … They’re not making the rules at all. That’s a frightening feeling.
“I just think it’s so obvious that those tests have to be accessible to everybody,” Griffin said. “A lot of people, when they hear the president saying everyone who needs a test should get one, then shouldn’t have to then go to a hospital where, frankly, they may be exposing themselves or exposing others. Hopefully, sooner than later you can either go to a pharmacy and get one or they could deliver one at home, something like that.”