We Want Josh Green – Hawaii Lieutenant Governor and Emergency Doctor Missing at the Command Table
Who do you want to dictate government policy to during the COVID-19 pandemic: doctors or government officials? As the state works to quickly implement the new lockdown rules, a group of more than 300 Hawaiian doctors and medical professionals are calling for even stricter action to be taken and government officials to give Lieutenant -Governor Josh Green a seat at the decision-making table during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Green, an emergency room doctor and the only doctor among senior state and county officials, was reportedly left out of decision-making for political reasons.
The group includes internists, surgeons, radiologists, anesthesiologists, nurses, dentists, and others from hospitals and medical groups in Maui and across the state. He issued a series of letters calling on state and local authorities, including Mayor Michael Victorino, for greater involvement of Green and a tighter lockdown that only allows residents to go out for two reasons: access to food and to medical care.
Maui anesthesiologist Dr. Kai Matthes and dentist Dr. Sonia Gupta spearheaded the campaign and the creation of a website, Hicovid.org. Matthes said his group had been in contact with Lt. Gov. Green, but no one at the Hawaii Department of Health, the governor’s office or locally in Maui had “responded to our letters.”
Where’s Josh Green?
In its March 23 letter, the group also “strongly endorsed” Green “to have a seat at the command table” supported by a “multidisciplinary medical task force” to help guide the state through the crisis. sanitary.
Green, an emergency room doctor, seemed the natural fit when Governor Ige announced in early March that Green would lead Hawaii’s response to COVID-19 as a liaison between the administration and the healthcare community.
But there have been hints of a schism between the governor and Green in recent days. Green appeared on national television Saturday morning to say that an “order” was coming to prevent anyone except residents and medical staff from flying to Hawai’i. His statements turned out to be incorrect the next day when Governor Ige announced a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all passengers arriving in Hawaii. Asked about the gap, an IGE spokeswoman said, “The governor speaks for the state.”
Ge said MauiTime At Monday’s press conference, Lt. Gov. Green’s job as the state’s “coronavirus liaison” had changed since the federal government declared a national emergency. At that point, “Kenneth Hara took over incident command and the whole disaster preparedness structure went into effect,” Ige said, adding that “all partners” involved are now coordinating through Hara. “
“I am still in communication with [Green]”Hara said,” but I also get most of my recommendations and advice from … Hawaii Department of Health and health care associations. “
Tuesday, the Honolulu-based news site Civilian beat reported that Green was banned from participating in the Hawaii pandemic response and asked to leave press conferences held by Governor David Ige and state health department officials. Green criticized Hawaiʻi’s slowness to act and the state’s minimal testing program.
In a statement sent to MauiTime On Tuesday, Green said: “All I’m interested in right now is slowing the virus and saving lives. I was working on the health crises in Hawaii as a National Health Corps researcher, emergency physician, representative, and senator before David Ige became governor and will be working on them long after he left.
Green said his previous recommendations for stopping cruise ship docking at Hawaiian ports, stopping tourist travel and increasing testing statewide “were made to prevent fatalities. It would be hard for me to believe that a governor would take important responsibilities away from his colleague in this regard. “
IGE’s office released a statement Tuesday evening denying that Green had been banned, only that the new social distancing rules required bringing in only “those most directly involved in specific topics discussed in meetings and press conferences.
Maui hospital “perfectly fine” with its supplies
The letter from the group of doctors on March 23 stressed the importance of more widespread testing and pointed out that the social distancing rules are “unnecessarily complicated” and that the current emergency rules are difficult for the public to understand. “It leads to confusion and non-compliance which puts the whole community at risk.”
Another major concern is the potential shortage of personal protective equipment “in our hospitals and on the front lines” when COVID-19 cases increase.
Matthes said the lack of response to letters from his group was “disappointing. When it comes to more COVID-19 patients requiring hospital care, we will need to take extra shifts and potentially work with minimal PPE if there is a shortage. It can put our lives and those of our families at risk. It doesn’t seem right not to listen to our medical community, but to ask us for help when it’s too late.
“We have a lot of staff who overreact,” Maui Memorial Hospital spokeswoman Lisa Paulson said on Monday when asked about the medical group’s concerns. “We’re perfectly fine” with PPE supplies. “However, we understand the desire of the community to help, so we are collecting donations.” His response differed somewhat from Queen’s Hospital on Oʻahu, which launched a public appeal on Tuesday for glasses, face shields, masks and gowns.
MauiTime asked Governor David Ige about the group’s concerns during his press conference on Monday. He replied, “We know there are needs for our physicians and frontline health care providers. We continue to work with various organizations to identify these needs and ensure that we can make personal protective equipment available. “
Victorino did not respond to a question regarding the doctors’ letter. When asked about Matthes’ claims, Maui County District Health Officer Dr Lorrin Pang replied, “I have surely spoken to the doctors in Maui. Tell them to call me and I’ll see what I can do. “
Governor David Ige issued a terse statement regarding Green at his press conference on Wednesday.
“I would like to address an issue that many have called my office to inquire about,” Ige said at the start of the press conference. “Lieutenant Governor Josh Green is still the Health Care Liaison in the State of Hawaii. Nothing has changed since he was appointed to this post.
“The Lieutenant Governor is responsible for assessing the medical community’s readiness to provide care to people who test positive for COVID 19, assessing Hawaii’s current supply of equipment – including equipment personal protective equipment and ventilators that are so crucial in providing care – coordinating efforts to enforce necessary, and allocate funds at the federal and state levels. “
Ige said he would appreciate advice from Green “as well as anyone else who has recommendations on how we are protecting our community.” However, as governor, I am developing my health policies related to COVID-19 with the advice and guidance of national experts from the CDC, the Hawaii Department of Health and Dr Bruce Anderson and Dr Sarah Park. Doctors Anderson and Park are both trained epidemiologists whose careers have been spent studying epidemic prevention.