A Tale of Two X-Rays…

By now Dr. Jesse O’Shea’s x-rays have been making the social media rounds. BUT, if case you missed them…

Dr. Jesse O’Shea, an infectious disease physician, posted this x-ray showing the difference between two of his patients; one with and one without the vaccination.

From his Instagram account dated July 20, 2021:

A Story of Two Chest X-Rays.

One patient with a vaccine and one patient without. Version 2—for the crowd that wants specifics without violating patient privacy (these are published cases).

The top picture is a 47-year-old man who received Pfizer vaccine (1) and developed COVID19 2 weeks after. He was overweight (BMI = 29), but without any known comorbidities. He had runny nose, mild body aches, mild cough. His chest X ray is relatively normal.

The bottom picture is a 50-year-old active female patient without obesity and not on medications. Her chest X-ray shows diffuse opacities, consolidations in both lungs with lung damage (all the fluffy white) and a pattern that looks like the worst feared complication of COVID19—acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). She needed intubation, mechanical ventilation, and ECMO (extra-corporal membrane oxygenation) – the most life support we can offer.

The mRNA vaccines are effective at preventing severe disease and death— even with the Delta variant. Our ICUs are starting to fill up with unvaccinated COVID19 patients again.

To my fellow healthcare workers, keep your head up!”- Grady Memorial Hospital & Five Oaks Medical Group – Chickasha, OK

Now on their face, these x-rays along with the notation appear frightening. After all, a doctor wrote and posted this. I won’t lie, I first looked at these and went, “DAMN!” But then I read his commentary…


These x-rays are disingenuous and taken completely out of context. I’ll explain.

Ask yourselves these questions:

1) Does Patient #2 have any comorbidities? Dr. O’Shea made it a point to state regarding Patient #1, “…He was overweight (BMI = 29), but without any known comorbidities.” Dr. O’Shea did not notate that in his findings regarding Patient #2.

2) What are the dates of stay between the two patients?. When were these taken? Are they even Dr. O’Shea’s patients? Look at the X-Rays – they are not date/time stamped. The audience looking at these pictures really has no idea when they were taken. We are only going on the assumption that they were both recent because they were posted on Dr. O’Shea’s Instagram account on July 20, 2021.

3) Is Patient #2 a smoker? A heavy smoker’s X-Rays can exhibit the same symptoms; and since Dr. O’Shea didn’t provide any background information as he did in detail with Patient #1, we really don’t know.


4) Dr. O’Shea doesn’t specifically state that Patient #2 has COVID-19 (…and a pattern that looks like the worst feared complication of COVID19…) as he did with Patient #1 (…47-year-old man who received Pfizer vaccine (1) and developed COVID19 2 weeks after.) For all we know, Patient #2 could have pneumonia or cystic fibrosis.

X-Ray of Pneumonia https://pubs.rsna.org/doi/full/10.1148/rg.2018170048
X-Ray of Cystic Fibrosis https://radiopaedia.org/articles/cystic-fibrosis-pulmonary-manifestations-1

In conclusion, Dr. Jesse O’Shea’s Instagram post with his “A Story of Two Chest X-Rays” is just that – a story. The X-Rays have zero provenance. The post was made on Instagram versus a medical journal; and he left several questions unanswered.

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