Sorry, Internet: No one got a fidget spinner stuck on their penis. At least not at Hahnemann Hospital. And the confusion is apparently all thanks to an unfortunately placed geotag.
The Center City hospital today debunked a once-viral, now-deleted tweet that indicated a 9-year-old was treated for a “fidget spinner stuck on penis.” The tweet, sent by @BabyRu_Bombata_ yesterday afternoon, showed a purported screenshot of an internal hospital system and geo-tagged Hahnemann University Hospital in the tweet. But a spokesman for Hahnemann says no such incident happened to any of their patients, and the original tweet that got more than 70,000 retweets has since been deleted.
Here’s the image posted by @BabyRu_Bombata_, whose name on Twitter is “Toni Childs.” The text of her tweet was “Never a dull day shadowing in the ER.”
Hahnemann Hospital spokesman Phil Ellingsworth Jr. said he became aware of the tweet last night, started poking around on the Internet and discovered that the image used in the original tweet had been circulating on Facebook, 4Chan and Reddit.
Ellingsworth said the hospital is confident no such incident happened there — they don’t use the electronic health record system the screenshot supposedly shows — and he said they don’t believe it was sent by a current Hahnemann employee or contractor.
In a phone interview with Billy Penn, the woman who tweeted the image — who declined to be identified — said she first saw the fidget spinner screenshot when a friend texted it to her, saying it happened to him while he was shadowing at a hospital. She claims she then tweeted the image while standing near Hahnemann Hospital when the geotag kicked in, because she “happened to be in the area.”
She muted her phone before going to bed last night, and she said she woke up this morning to thousands of retweets and favorites, prompting her to find out for herself that the screenshot her friend sent her had been on the Internet for more than a week. The woman, who lives in Philadelphia, said once people started bringing up medical privacy in her mentions, she deleted the tweet.
“My mentions were going crazy,” she said. “People kept following me, and I was like ‘wow, I don’t need this kind of attention.’ So I just deleted it to get rid of it.”
Ellingsworth said the hospital is “disappointed” that 70,000 people on the Internet thought a kid got a fidget spinner stuck on his penis and came to their hospital.
“Patient privacy is a paramount concern to us,” he said, “so we are extremely disappointed this person tweeted this image and tagged themselves at Hahnemann.”