As an emergency room doc working at a rural Michigan hospital, Rob Davidson presumably took the Hippocratic oath promising to do no harm. Blaming Fox News and Republicans for the inability of Michigan hospitals to care for the surge of unvaccinated patients gives a pass to those who bear responsibility: Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Attorney General Dana Nessel, and their fawning anchor friends at CNN and MSNBC.
The New York Times, a publication whose pandemic coverage is mostly vaccine mandate propaganda, today posted another political op-ed by Davidson blaming the unvaccinated for overtaxing Michigan’s hospitals. He links to statistics showing that as of last Monday, nine hospitals in the state were 100 percent full, and at least 20 others were at or above 90 percent capacity. Statewide, nearly one in four hospital patients has a confirmed or suspected case of covid. Supposedly, nearly all have been unvaccinated.
I say supposedly because according to yesterday’s internal statistics of Beaumont Health, the biggest and very troubled hospital system serving the Metro Detroit area, as of yesterday 24 percent of the covid patients were fully vaccinated. Fully vaccinated patients accounted for 25 percent of covid patients in the ICU and 21 percent of those on ventilators. Beaumont officials have also publicly claimed that most of the hospital system’s patients are unvaccinated.
Davidson acknowledged in a previous New York Times op-ed that the patients his hospital treats are “largely underserved with underlying conditions.” My Beaumont sources say that most of that hospital system’s gravely ill patients also have underlying conditions. One didn’t need an PhD in infectious diseases to predict that Michigan was going to see a surge in covid cases once the weather turned cold. Michigan’s hospital crisis was expected, yet Whitmer and Nessel did nothing to mitigate it.
The corporate media’s support for the Biden Administration’s vaccine mandate has so politicized the vaccine debate that common sense no longer matters or applies. It’s a no-brainer that the elderly and those with underlying conditions should get jabbed. Any credible vaccine critic will acknowledge there is very compelling evidence that vaccines will give the elderly and those with underlying conditions a fighting chance if they contract covid.
The debate is whether the young and healthy should risk possible vaccine side effects when it’s likely they could survive covid if they contract the disease. There also is considerable debate as to whether vaccines stop covid transmission. I don’t watch cable news, but the story Davidson links to about Fox News focuses on the opposition some network hosts have for forced vaccine mandates for everyone.
A practical and responsible governor and attorney general would have risen to the challenge and months ago launched an aggressive campaign focused solely on getting the elderly and those with underlying conditions vaccinated. Dr. Davidson, instead of focusing on getting his anti-Trump screeds published in the New York Times, would have better served his community had he educated the most vulnerable about the compelling stats showing vaccines would save their lives.
The target group that needed to be convinced is sizeable: Michigan consistently ranks among the top 10 to 15 most obese states in the country, according to the state’s Department of Health & Human Services. Thirty-one percent of Michiganders are obese and 35 percent are overweight.
Whitmer and Nessel are politicos solely interested in their own self-promotion in the hope they can get out of Michigan and get elected to national office or be tapped for a plum Washington job. Both became corporate media darlings during the Trump era with their willingness to appear at the drop of a hat on CNN, MSNBC, and other Democratic-supporting media outlets to bash him and his administration. Nessel went so far as to call Trump “a petulant child.”
Trashing Trump is an admirable cause to his detractors, but he enjoys considerable popularity in Michigan, winning in 2016 and only narrowly losing it during the last election. Michiganders with long memories recall that Trump saved 700 jobs that Ford planned to move to Mexico. Attacking Trump so aggressively forfeited any hope of gaining even a modicum of trust from his supporters. Whitmer and Nessel are so unpopular I’m doubtful they could even give away Mackinac Island’s famous fudge to most state residents.
Underscoring the lack of respect Michigan’s corporate leaders have for Whitmer, Ford moved to invest $10 billion in Tennessee and Kentucky without asking the governor for a competing bid. Nessel so sullied the reputation of her office that she was forced to implore state residents to stop sending messages urging her staff to shove sharpies up their butts. It’s hard to respect an attorney general who was taken in a wheelchair from a football game because she couldn’t handle her Bloody Mary drinks.
Whitmer and Nessel both are responsible for the implosion of Beaumont Health, whose flagship hospital in Royal Oak once ranked among the best in the country. The hospital under John Fox has seen an exodus of prominent surgeons and other specialists, and there have been serious incidents, including a healthy patient dying while undergoing a routine colonoscopy. A former Beaumont board member and generous donor wrote Nessel a letter a year ago last September warning about Beaumont’s dire conditions, but she did nothing.
A responsible attorney general would have heeded the warning and removed Fox and the board members who supported him as the donor urged her to do. The removal had considerable justification, including an internal survey that revealed most Beaumont doctors didn’t have faith in Fox or his management team. Instead, Nessel allowed Beaumont to continue to decline.
Beaumont hospitals are short staffed and stretched to the brink, but the situation was quite serious even before the expected covid surge. At Beaumont’s Troy hospital, the only five-star facility in the network, the ER recently had some 70 patients awaiting admission but there were no available beds in the wards because of a staff shortage. The ER nurses are doing double duty as ward nurses. Beaumont is a notoriously bad place to work and was experiencing a severe nursing shortage even before the latest surge.
Troy is a regional trauma center. Any major disaster they couldn’t handle it. Beaumont Dearborn is so chronically short staffed it required army assistance to treat patients.
At Beaumont Wayne, a hospital catering heavily to the poor and disadvantaged, there is a serious shortage of wheelchairs. Beaumont has a $3.5 billion cash reserve, and it won’t allocate sufficient funds to provide patients and physically impaired staff the mobility they require. I’m told Beaumont management, what’s left of it, just doesn’t care.
Understandably so. Beaumont is awaiting approval to be taken over by Grand Rapids-based Spectrum Health, which also has required emergency army assistance. Studies show that hospital mergers lead to higher patient costs and poorer care, and a former top Spectrum executive has publicly warned the marriage could result in a “massive financial loss.” Not a peep out of Nessel.
If Spectrum and Beaumont are so mismanaged they can’t handle the expected surge in covid patients, allowing them to merge will only make one giant mismanaged hospital. Spectrum has recently experienced considerable senior management turmoil, including the departure of its diversity chief. Most of the senior Beaumont executives hired by CEO Fox are gone. He also plans to bolt once the deal is done, likely with a multi-million payout package sufficient to stock Beaumont Wayne with a decades-long supply of wheelchairs.
Davidson, the ER doc who blames Fox News and Republicans for Michigan’s hospital woes, is affiliated with a Spectrum Hospital but he’s seemingly more interested in promoting his politics and honing his journalism creds. He might consider asking Whitmer and Nessel for a recommendation at CNN. An anchor position suddenly became open.