You Need to Postpone Your Heart Attacks if You Live in a Red State

We’re hearing that Idaho hospitals are officially rationing care, but the same thing is happening in hospitals in many states. There’s a terribly alarming story at ProPublica providing several examples of people who lost their lives from treatable illness because the hospitals were overwhelmed with covid patients.

One boy survived a burst appendix after waiting for hours in an emergency room. Later his father tweeted,

If you want to keep your blood pressure down, don’t read the replies to the tweet. Lots of people either thought the father was lying or that the hospital was just incompetent.

In spring 2020, when covid was new, this was why the public health people wanted to “bend the curve” and slow the spread of covid. They wanted to keep the health care system from being overrun. Well, now it’s happening, in red states.

I just checked; here in St. Francois County we’ve got a 16 percent positivity rate, which is considered extremely bad. So far the hospitals seems to be functioning okay, but we probably have more hospital capacity here than a lot of other counties.

Along with Idaho, Alaska and parts of Montana have also gone “crisis care” mode, meaning you need to reschedule your heart attack there. But the boy with the burst appendix lives in Florida. A man in Texas was diagnosed with gallstone pancreatitis, which is serious but treatable, but it took so many hours to find a hospital that could take him he could not be saved.

Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times notes that Sarah Palin’s “death panels” seem to have finally materialized, in Republican states. In Idaho, hospitals are having to “triage” patients, and those less likely to survive simply are not going to get aggressive care. Hiltzik writes,

In recent times, the state has become known as a haven for those celebrating rugged individualism, but its leaders have bowed to that principle obsequiously. Back in March, several Republican officeholders attended mask-burning rallies across the state.

“We’re standing here today to rein back government,” one of the organizers said.

The state’s political leaders have scrambled to outdo each other to “protect” the citizens of Idaho from having to wear masks. The state has also been a slacker at reporting vaccination data, I take it.

People aren’t learning from any of this.