Officials’ comments threaten others’ health
I am sure that you are familiar with the saying “your right to throw a punch stops at my face.”
Fact: Coronavirus is deadly, and cases are present in Bonner and Kootenai counties.
Fact: Health care workers are 200-400% as likely to contract the virus.
Fact: CDC states that social distancing orders and stay at home orders will decrease the number of cases, and particularly, “flatten the curve” so that health care resources are not overwhelmed.
Fact: Models of North Idaho demonstrate that, if unmitigated, resources, particularly ICU beds and ventilators, will be overwhelmed.
Fact: Once overwhelmed, ethics committees have deemed that resources are prioritized based on profession (more specifically health care workers) followed by chance of survival, followed by age. Scarce resources are NOT allocated by political or social status, wealth or “first-served.”
Because you believe that the stay-at-home order is unlawful (which it is not, under state of emergency), and more importantly, have used your public office to encourage others to violate the order, you have put law-abiding citizens, and health care workers at increased risk of infection, hospitalization and death.
As such, your punch has reached my face. It is criminal that you would use your pubic office to threaten the health of your constituents and your local and regional health care workers. Similar to Bonner County Sheriff Daryl Wheeler, the entire medical staff at Kootenai Health is aware of this reckless behavior.
I realize that the pandemic is not much of a concern to those uneducated people who believe this threat is a “hoax” or “overblown,” but I want you to know that in the unlikely but possible event that either you or Sheriff Wheeler contract the coronavirus, and in the less likely event that you will require hospitalization, and even less likely but possible event that you would require a ventilator, that I, and all of my co-workers take comfort in knowing that, because of your behavior, you have essentially relinquished your claim to any of these potentially scare resources. It’s probably for the better that a ventilator go to a health care provider anyway,
Please re-think your behavior and your actions and rescind your comments and requests. Health care providers are concerned that we have inadequate testing to know which of our patients are infected and inadequate PPE to protect ourselves through a surge. As such we would ask you to think of them/us, rather than yourself at this difficult time. You could possibly use your legislative power to help with the problem, rather than add to it.
DR. ROBERT J. BURNETT MD, FACS, FCCP
The views expressed in this letter are my own. They are in no way the opinions of Kootenai Health or its medical staff.