This afternoon I saw a headline on the Drudge Report that the NEJM was calling for Trump’s firing. Because medical journals have historically been careful to remain politically neutral I immediately went straight to the source and read their lead editorial myself to see what they said. Sure enough it looks like they have been infected with a deadly virus for a scientific journal. They are attempting to inject their own political views into readers who expect better and more “scientific” articles. Maybe it will be fatal for them as a journal. I hope so!
The article is called “Dying in a Leadership Vacuum” and is attributed simply to “the Editors.” They begin by complaining that our leaders have “failed [the Covid] test” and “have taken a crisis and turned it into a tragedy.” They marshal some statistics to try to show how bad it is in the US. I do agree with their statement that “Covid-19 is an overwhelming challenge, and many factors contribute to its severity.” They then praise the severe measures of China and claim they had a death rate of 3 per million vs the US’s 500 per million. The measures they praise, by the way, are very authoritarian (intensive testing [without permission], aggressive contact tracing, and [forced] isolation). This editorial view is astounding in its failure to recognize nations have agreed-upon governance with their citizens and longstanding cultures that must be considered with ANY kind of medical strategies, no matter how worthwhile they sound. No mention is made, for example, of balancing our freedoms with medical safety and security…or balancing our economy with medical safety and security.
So why don’t we go all the way in this idea for a minute. Why should medical workers themselves be immune from such a severe lockdown? If the Editors like strict severe authoritarian medical measures so much why didn’t they isolate THEMSELVES in hospitals for several months and wear full Biosafety Level 4 suits and force all medical workers to stay on their posts IN ISOLATION until the virus was eradicated? WHY DIDN’T THE EDITORS TAKE THE LEAD IN THIS AND BECOME NATIONWIDE EXAMPLES OF MEDICAL HEROICISM? Why didn’t all medical personnel across the US voluntarily (or encouraged by prompting by the major journals and Medical Associations) stay on their posts in the hospitals, never returning to their families for months? Wouldn’t that have been the safest way to handle the sick, as a medical profession? Well, you see the total unreasonableness of what could be argued as a best practice for handling Covid. The hypocrisy of the Editors is amazing. They are sitting around taking cheap shots at leaders who are doing something when they aren’t doing anything personally costly. Let’s put one Editor per NY nursing home and make them stay locked down totally until the virus is eradicated. They wouldn’t last 15 minutes away from their normal patterns of life. It is very obvious they favor heavy-handed Government control of healthcare. I will even say Marxism.
They also claim we, as a nation, didn’t have enough PPE to provide health care workers. Whose job is that? All the medical clinics I’ve seen had enough gloves. Can the NEJM definitively say that flimsy disposable masks (that we are being FORCED TO WEAR) are PROVEN to decrease your chance of contracting the virus or giving the virus to someone else? That is the kind of scientific information WE WOULD LIKE TO KNOW. Why don’t you work on that project Editors?
Well, the article goes downhill from there, and by the time it’s done they are calling for our current leaders to lose their jobs. Sad.
To finish I thought I’d suggest something else the Editors could work on: Hospital-Acquired Infections. That IS in your wheelhouse Editors, whereas political propaganda should not be. For those that don’t know HAIs are the infectious organisms you can get WHEN YOU ARE IN THE HOSPITAL, PRESUMABLY FOR SOME OTHER PROBLEM! These have been the little-talked-about bane of the Medical profession. Their dirty little secret, shall we say. A person goes to a hospital with high hopes that they can be treated for something and then contracts a harmful infection FROM THE HOSPITAL. Here are the latest CDC stats about HAIs:
On any given day, about 1 in 31 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection. Patients in the 2015 HAI Hospital Prevalence survey were at least 16% less likely than patients in the 2011 survey to have an HAI.
• 3% of hospitalized patients in the 2015 survey had one or more HAI.
• There were an estimated 687,000 HAIs in U.S. acute care hospitals in 2015. About 72,000 hospital patients with HAIs died during their hospitalizations.
This, ahem, dwarfs the Covid rates. Just since 2015, at this rate, there have been around 350,000 people DIE FROM HAIs. That is one and a half times the Covid death toll! Why don’t the Editors work on this problem? What is your esteemed Journal doing about this problem…anything?
DVM is a devout Christian, husband, father, veterinarian, professor, and patriot. He also has a M. Div. degree from an accredited seminary in the southeast US.