Over 600 doctors cosigned a letter to President Trump on Tuesday, urging him to end the “national shutdown” of businesses—especially in healthcare—which they called a “mass casualty incident” with “exponentially growing health consequences.”
The letter, drafted by Dr. Simone Gold, garnered hundreds of signatures from physicians nationwide before being sent to the White House.
Obtained by Fox News, the letter points to a cascade of unintended consequences resulting from coronavirus shutdowns. Such consequences, the doctors have observed, have included patients missing routine checkups that could detect things like heart problems or cancer, increases in substance and alcohol abuse, and increases in financial instability that could lead to “poverty and financial uncertainty,” which “is closely linked to poor health.”
“We are alarmed at what appears to be the lack of consideration for the future health of our patients,” the doctors declare in the letter. “The downstream health effects … are being massively under-estimated and under-reported. This is an order of magnitude error.”
“The millions of casualties of a continued shutdown will be hiding in plain sight, but they will be called alcoholism, homelessness, suicide, heart attack, stroke, or kidney failure,” the letter goes on. “In youths it will be called financial instability, unemployment, despair, drug addiction, unplanned pregnancies, poverty, and abuse.”
“Because the harm is diffuse, there are those who hold that it does not exist,” the doctors write. “We, the undersigned, know otherwise.”
The letter goes on to list a handful of patients who have suffered as a direct result of lockdown policies.
“Patient E.S. is a mother with two children whose office job was reduced to part-time and whose husband was furloughed,” the letter reads. “The father is drinking more, the mother is depressed and not managing her diabetes well, and the children are barely doing any schoolwork.”
“Patient A.F. has chronic but previously stable health conditions,” it continues. “Her elective hip replacement was delayed, which caused her to become nearly sedentary, resulting in a pulmonary embolism in April.”
Dr. Mark McDonald, a psychiatrist, told Fox News of a 31-year-old patient of his with a history of depression who was attending school to get a master’s degree in psychology. The patient died about two weeks ago of a fentanyl overdose, Dr. McDonald says, and he blames the shutdown.
“She had to stay in her apartment, essentially in house arrest as most people here in [Los Angeles] were for weeks and weeks, she could not see her therapist — she could speak to the therapist over the phone but she couldn’t see her in person,” McDonald said of his patient. “She could not attend any of her group meetings, which were helping to maintain her abstinence from opiates … and she relapsed into depression.”
“She was just too withdrawn to ask for help,” McDonald continued. He also noted that, due to social distancing regulations, only six people could be at the patient’s funeral.
“She was simply trying to escape from her pain,” McDonald concluded. “I do blame these actions by the government for her death.”
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