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Before the news of Jeffrey Epstein’s death was publicly announced by ABC News on Friday, a post appeared on 4chan that gave detailed information about his death.
Aaron Katersky of ABC News first tweeted of Epstein’s death at 8:54 a.m. ET on Friday:
Jeffrey Epstein is dead. Sources tell @abc Epstein committed suicide at MCC Manhattan
— Aaron Katersky (@AaronKatersky) August 10, 2019
Five minutes later, ABC News followed with its own tweet:
BREAKING: Disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide overnight in his Lower Manhattan jail cell – the federal lockup where he had been held pending trial on federal sex trafficking charges, three law enforcement officials told @ABC News. https://t.co/h0xLCqIEbT
— ABC News (@ABC) August 10, 2019
But according to Buzzfeed News, at 8:16 a.m. the same morning a post appeared on 4chan reading, “[D]ont ask me how I know, but Epstein died an hour ago from hanging, cardiac arrest. Screencap this,” accompanied by an image of Pepe the green frog, an emblematic icon for far-right trolls.
Buzzfeed News reports that after other 4chan users urged the author of the post to disseminate more information to verify its authenticity, the author delineated the alleged tactics that were used after Epstein’s suicide attempt to resuscitate him.
The 4chan user reportedly made six posts about Epstein’s death. One of them claimed that attempts to resuscitate Epstein were made for 40 minutes before he was transported to the hospital, at which point medical personnel tried to revive him for another 20 minutes. Buzzfeed News notes, “Those details are at least partially consistent with the information regarding Epstein’s death that have been publicly released by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.”
In a conversation with Buzzfeed News, Frank Dwyer, a Deputy Commissioner for FDNY, stated that an investigation found that the information on 4chan had not come from a member of the FDNY. He said, “An investigation is a formal act which brings about a process which includes interviewing witnesses, serving notice, determining credibility of witness statements — and that was not warranted nor did it take place here. This determination was made after a review of the incident. We looked at the information provided by [a BuzzFeed News] reporter and we looked at our own records and there was no match. It doesn’t match our medical records.”
Dr. Keith Wesley, an emergency medicine physician, told Buzzfeed News that the 4chan post “sounds like standard American Heart Association guidelines, which most EMS agencies use.” He added that the portion of the post that referred to “telemetry advised bicarb” might indicate that first responders attempting to revive Epstein were concurrently speaking with the hospital. He explained, “Telemetry implies the paramedics were in contact with a medical control hospital who then gave orders to give Sodium Bicarbonate, bicarb which is designed to reverse the acid buildup in the blood from prolonged cardiac arrest … If one of the medics posted this separately that’s a breach of protocol. If there was identifying information on the patient, that is a violation of Federal HIPAA law.”
Oren Barzilay, the president of the union for EMT workers Local 2507 in New York, told Buzzfeed News, “Our members do not release this type of confidential information. This looks like a 3rd party info,” adding that the union would investigate “if such a claim came forward.” He concluded, “There’s serious consequences for those violations. Discipline. Suspensions. Civil penalties, etc.”