BY TOM WRIGHT
This Coronavirus has made our healthcare system sick, or I should say the governor’s overly cautious mandate to close down all non-COVID medical activities has made it sick, as well as extending the suffering of many patients in need of non-emergency procedures.
Healthcare is about healing and doing no harm. Patients in need of treatment for non-emergency and non-COVID conditions are being put on waiting lists which delays their treatment and perhaps exacerbates their condition to an emergency status. This is wrong and is at odds with the “do no harm” oath which is fundamental.
Healthcare providers work hard to serve in their profession and a large percent of them are being needlessly furloughed by the hospitals and medical practices where they serve. But they actually serve the people who need their services and now, many of those services are not available as they are tagged “elective.”
Healthcare represents 20 percent of our economy and most of that care is being put on hold until our governor decides to end her mandate to close hospitals for non-emergency procedures.
The result is badly needed rural hospitals are going broke, physicians and staff are being laid-off and larger hospitals are experiencing 50-65 percent loss of income. The damage being done is immense to the system and to the public.
All of this could be avoided and outpatient services could easily be restored as could elective in-office procedures.
Sterilizing operating theatres and operatories is nothing new, nor is protective equipment and sterile technique. Screening the health of patients needing non-emergency procedures is obvious, but denying a patient in need is wrong. Healthcare professionals know how to protect themselves and their patients.
It is time for the public and the healthcare community to voice our concerns to our elected and appointed officials and allow healthcare for all to resume. It will end the suffering of the thousands who have been denied needed medical procedures and restore economic viability to an already crippled healthcare system.
The governor has an email site on her webpage and health is one of the subject headings. I suggest writing her with your position.
Tom Wright spent 25 years in disaster relief, having responded to Chernobyl, the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa, natural disasters and wars. He has been a consultant to the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), a division of USAID.