Letter to the Editor
Holding the (Front) Line Against COVID-19
The rising specter of COVID-19 should remind us all that emergency medicine is truly the front line in the defense of our society. While the crisis is being addressed by politicians and scientists, the battle is being fought in emergency departments and in the emergency medical systems by those who staff the departments and fulfill the role of first responders. We have been there before in other epidemics, including the epidemic of gun violence. The fact that ED staff and first responders have to face the risks and yet have so little input into the solution is indefensible.
The advice of medical personnel is often ignored, and no serious input is being solicited from ED or EMS staff even though the decisions being made seriously affect and threaten them. Just as we should not expect first responders to face military weapons while fulfilling their responsibilities, we should not be expected to face COVID-19 without being offered every reasonable protection. Our government and society refuse to take necessary steps like locking down, the only proven means of controlling the pandemic, when and where it is needed.
Politicians will find political solutions aimed at achieving political goals. We as a profession and as a nation are facing a medical problem, and the medical solution should be directed by medical professionals including those on the front line.
Paul Janson, MD
Lawrence, MACopyright © 2020 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.