When did physicians and other health care workers become expendable pawns? When did they become unwitting participants in corona roulette?
When hospital systems began to mandate that, in spite of known exposure, in spite of even a positive COVID-19 test, physicians (and their colleagues) continue working.
When hospital workers are informed that if they are caught wearing masks when not seeing a confirmed COVID patient, disciplinary action will be taken.”
When physicians receive “gag orders, cease and desist orders [from their administration] from sending emails questioning questionable protocols.”
When a physician is asked to write up a proposal to support wearing N95 masks on all patients who require intubation (an obvious aerosolizing procedure).
When the expansion of the Family Medical Leave Act to accommodate this virus contains a clause empowering the labor secretary to exclude health care workers from quarantine and sick leave.
When Nancy Pelosi is being lobbied to withdraw OSHA safety standards as pertains to health care workers.
When at the same time, physicians are actively reassigned to areas far afield from their training, while at the same time experiencing an abrupt pay decrease and possible furlough if they don’t maintain their productivity.
When, currently in NYC, the medical teams “are intubating one-two patients almost every hour.”
And still, even in NYC, this horrifying hot-spot of COVID-19, hospital administrators continue to rip masks from the faces of staff.
Let’s juxtapose two points on the media radar.
One, this propaganda posted on a Rockford, Illinois law firm website, encouraging litigation against physicians. A snippet of their language:
“For example, if health care workers fail to take precautions like wearing protective masks or washing their hands properly, they could be found negligent for contributing to the spread of the virus …”
The other, a piece out of Washington state noting the termination of an emergency department physician, Dr. Ming Lin, for protesting a lack of protective measures. In a small victory, Dr. Lin has been reinstated, although “pending reassignment,” following a statement by the American Academy of Emergency Medicine.
While there are many, many anecdotes emerging illustrating the ideologic chasm between many administrations and those feverously laboring to slow this tidal wave, it is no secret that these providers are desperate for proper protection.
All data out of those areas of successful containment in other countries have one commonality: strict maintenance of PPE.
This pandemic has opened the curtain on the hearts of our country, both the light and the darkness, and the sentiments and greed and crassness demonstrated by this law firm above highlight why COVID-19 runs rampant through our streets now.
The irony, hypocrisy, callous disregard for life, and persistent pursuit of profit in the midst of a pandemic defies all reason.
Hospital administrators don’t take any Hippocratic Oath.
And now they are sabotaging those that have, rendering that oath void.
Physicians are being squeezed by the administration. Physicians are being targeted by the usual legal suspects, who will not abandon their ambulance-chasing even as we move into greater crisis. The moral disintegration of our nation will be our undoing.
The walls are closing in from all sides. In some respects, the virus is only a secondary player in our destruction.
Mia Marietta is a surgeon.
Image credit: Shutterstock.com