ER entrance at Providence Alaska Medical Center, Anchorage, 2008. Photo by 'Wonderlane,' Creative Commons license 2.0

Alaska: COVID Patients Wait Hours In Cars For ER Visits

Alaska's largest hospital, Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, announced last week that it was switching to "crisis standards of care" — rationing scarce healthcare resources to help the most people — because of the high numbers of COVID-19 cases and lack of beds or staff to treat them. All hospitals in Idaho also adopted the measures last week, meaning that care will be directed to save the most lives possible, and if that means someone's chances of survival are really slim, they may be passed over for an ICU bed or a ventilator if another patient has more chance of recovery.

The situation in Anchorage is especially bad, the Anchorage Daily News reported yesterday, with the state announcing seven deaths Monday and the hospital running short of ventilators and dialysis machines, as well as the staff to use them. A specialized triage team has had to decide which patients should be prioritized for care because they have a better chance of recovery. In a media briefing Monday, Providence's chief of staff, Dr. Kristen Solena Walkinshaw, reviewed some of the cases the team had had to review:

One person died who was unable to get the continuous renal replacement therapy they needed, she said. Four patients needed the therapy and only two could get it. The patient who survived without dialysis remains hospitalized in a palliative care setting.

Another decision involved deciding which patient got intubated because there weren't enough beds in the ICU, where seriously ill COVID-19 patients often end up.

Another patient died at a rural hospital because they needed cardiac catheterization and was "waiting for a bed to free up so we could transfer them," she said.

Patients needing to be seen in the emergency room have been told to wait in their cars, sometimes for hours. The hospital has brought in porta-potties for the parking lot to accommodate people needing a restroom. The hospital is also making a three-person wellness team available to help support hospital staff stressed out by the constant stream of patients.

And then there are the less helpful folks in the community, Walkinshaw noted:

Someone spat on a Providence resident as he left work. Families continue to deny that the virus is real even as they're saying goodbye to their loved ones on a video call as they get taken off life support.

Good thing for some folks the Hippocratic Oath doesn't let doctors just plain refuse to treat assholes. [Anchorage Daily News]



Michigan: County Public Health Director Almost Run Off Road

In Michigan, Kent County Health Department Director Adam London ordered a mask mandate in the county's public schools on August 20. A few hours later, a woman tried to force his car off the road. He emailed the county commissioners on August 22 with a request, telling them "I need help."

My team and I are broken. I'm about done. I've done my job to the best of my ability. I've given just about everything to Kent County, and now I've given some more of my safety. [...]

I had a woman try to run me off the road at 70+ miles per hour…twice, on Friday night. [...] I think we have all seen the aggression and violence displayed at meetings across the nation during the past week.

London added that he believed "There is nothing to be gained by entertaining such people with dialog" and that he was contacting the county commissioners because "There is a sickness in America far more insidious than COVID. You are more empowered to fight this disease than I am."

The county sheriff's office confirmed London had called to report the incident, but that while he identified the make and model of the assailant's vehicle, he'd been unable to get the license number.

In the email, London said he'd also been verbally harassed around town, from nice patriotic Americans calling him "a deep state agent of liberal-progressive socialist powers" or a "child-abusing monster." One lover of liberty yelled at him, "Hey mother******, I hope someone abuses your kids and forces you to watch."

He noted that there have been calls for him to resign or be fired, but said he hoped people in more powerful positions, from both parties, would speak out against the threats and intimidation.

The Michigan Advance notes that London got half of that wish, at least:

In response to the threats of violence London has received, Democratic Kent County commissioners issued a statement of support for the health officer and the county health department. Republican commissioners were asked to sign their names to the statement from Democrats; none did so.

Once the story was published Monday, the chair of the board of commissioners, Republican Mandy Bolter, did at least issue a statement condemning threats of violence, so everything should be just fine now. [Michigan Advance]


Nevada: Clark County Declares Vaccine Misinformation 'Public Health Crisis,' Misinformed Protesters Enraged

The Clark County Commission held a vote Tuesday on declaring vaccine misinformation a "public health crisis," but before the vote was even held, an attorney for the commission had to clarify that it was a statement of the commissioners' position, and did not carry any criminal or other penalties. Protesters at the meeting freaked out and claimed the resolution was an attempt to deny their First Amendment rights, and that the commissioners were doing "tyrannical" and "communist" badness that was ultimately aimed at killing citizens with vaccines.

Some speakers at the meeting did their level (?) best to demonstrate why COVID misinformation is a problem, like one woman who told commission chair Marilyn Kirkpatrick that

if she put her "paper" mask in boiling water, insect-like animals would crawl out. The 62-year-old woman went on to compare COVID-19 mitigation mandates to the plight of the Jewish people during WWII.

Another woman spoke about the board's "unconstitutional" actions that "will (ultimately) lead to rebellion or revolution, and possibly the next world war on the land of the Las Vegas Valley."

"Now, please tell me, is that what you want?" she asked the commissioners, who aren't allowed to respond. "Bloodshed? Bloodshed on the streets of Las Vegas."

As of yet, world war has not broken out in Las Vegas, but we haven't been checking Twitter, so who knows? [Las Vegas Sun]


Utah: LDS Leaders Say Mask Up, You

The three members of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints have sent a letter to all Mormon leaders around the world informing them that masks will be required in all the church's temples until the Delta variant crisis is over. Good for them! The letter urged all Mormons to get vaccinated, and noted that LDS leaders had previously called for church members to get vaccinated against smallpox in 1900, and against polio in 1957. [Ben Winslow on Twitter]


National: For Fuckssake, Don't Huff Hydrogen Peroxide, Are You Crazy?

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, a patient group for folks with asthma, has posted a warning on its blog urging people to not breathe hydrogen peroxide through nebulizers, which is apparently the latest stupid goddamn health misinformation going around social media.

A concerning and dangerous trend is circulating on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok. People are breathing in hydrogen peroxide through nebulizers to try to prevent or treat COVID-19.

DO NOT put hydrogen peroxide into your nebulizer and breathe it in. This is dangerous!

It is not a way to prevent nor treat COVID-19. Visit aafa.org/covid19 for information about asthma, allergies, and COVID-19.

Hydrogen peroxide can be poisonous if inhaled or swallowed in sufficient quantities. Jesus H. God. GET THE VACCINE IT IS NOT POISONOUS YOU IDIOTS. [AAFA]


National: US Increases Pledge Of Vaccines By 500 Million Doses

As part of a virtual summit on the pandemic taking place during this week's UN General Assembly, President Joe Biden said the US will purchase an additional 500 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to be distributed in developing nations. That's on top of a previous commitment of 500 million doses already in the process of being delivered through the UN's COVAX partnership. In total, the US has now pledged 1.1 billion vaccine doses. Biden called on other countries to increase their vaccine commitments as well, with a goal of getting at least 70 percent of the world's population vaccinated within the next year. [CNN]


Online: Here Is A Good Family Guy PSA About Vaccines

This is actually pretty good!

Haha, Meg is always the butt of the jokes. Poor Meg.

[Image: Photo by 'Wonderlane,' Creative Commons license 2.0 (cropped)]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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