The President Baselessly Accuses Physicians of Inflating COVID-19 Case Charges for Monetary Acquire. Will Well being Care Leaders Lastly Problem Him?

Introduction: the Trump Administration’s Assaults on Whistleblowers

A significant element of US (and world) well being care dysfunction has been the anechoic impact, the flexibility of these in energy to silence dialogue of matters which may put them in a foul gentle.  In danger is anybody who would possibly turn out to be a whistle-blower about poor high quality care or affected person security issues; malfeasance, corruption or crime; and many others.    Whistle-blowing is rarely straightforward for well being care professionals.  Those that achieve this have been ostracized, misplaced jobs or been topic to lawsuits.  


The Trump administration has a historical past of intimidating well being care whistle-blowers.  For instance, in 2019 we famous how the administration silenced scientists within the NIMH who would possibly disagree with a Trump tweet about psychological well being and violence, and a CDC official in regards to the relationship between local weather change and public well being.  In February, 2020, we famous how the administration tried to intimidate a whistle-blower on the DHHS who reported deficiencies in early administration of coronavirus sufferers. In Might, 2020, we famous how Trump himself tried to verbally intimidate the President of the
American Affiliation of Nurse Practitioners when she complained in a White Home assembly in regards to the lack of non-public protecting tools in amenities caring for COVID-19 sufferers. 

That was dangerous sufficient, however then I heard the information at the moment, oh boy. 

Trump Claims Docs Over-Report COVID-19 to Make Extra Cash

Within the final week, on the finish of the run as much as the election, President Trump doubled down.  He blamed the complete US medical career for inflating the severity of COVID-19, which is at odds together with his completely happy discuss message that now we have “turned the nook” on the virus.

On Oct 26, 2020, per

At a marketing campaign rally
in Waukesha, Wisconsin on Saturday, Trump advised his supporters that ‘docs get more cash and hospitals get more cash’ if they are saying individuals
died from COVID-19 slightly than their comorbidity
— a conspiracy concept
that has
been debunked
— because the president pressed his case that the US is ’rounding
the flip’ on the pandemic, regardless of public well being officers
stressing repeatedly that the other is true.

On Oct 31, 2020, per CNN:

Donald Trump on Friday baselessly claimed that docs are inflating
the coronavirus demise rely for financial acquire
whereas circumstances, hospitalizations and deaths surge throughout the nation.

docs get more cash if somebody dies from Covid. You recognize that,
proper? I imply our docs are very good individuals. So what they do is that they
say ‘I am sorry however everyone dies of Covid,’ ‘ Trump stated, with out
citing any proof, at a rally in Waterford Township, Michigan.

As well as, per one other CNN report on the identical date, he additionally stated:

‘With us, when doubtful — select Covid,’ Trump stated. ‘Now they’re going to say
‘Oh that is horrible what he stated,’ however that is true. It is like $2,000
extra, so that you get more cash.’

In the meantime, we realized that this assault on physicians was a part of a long-standing technique.  Per CNN on October 28, 2020:

Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, boasted in
mid-April about how the President had minimize out the docs and
scientists advising him on the unfolding coronavirus pandemic
, feedback
that got here as greater than 40,000 Individuals already had died from the virus,
which was ravaging New York Metropolis.In
a taped interview on April 18, Kushner advised legendary journalist Bob
Woodward that Trump was ‘getting the nation again from the docs‘ in
what he known as a ‘negotiated settlement.’ 


‘Trump’s now again in cost. It is not the docs.’

The assertion mirrored a political technique. As a substitute of following the
well being consultants’ recommendation, Trump and Kushner have been centered on what would
assist the President on Election Day
. By their calculations, Trump would
be the ‘open-up president.’

So Trump was keen to ignore the recommendation of public well being and well being care professionals, and to verbally assault and intimidate them to help the completely happy discuss of his election technique, even when that meant extra illness, extra morbidity, and extra deaths.  

Lastly, Influential Well being Care Professionals Communicate Out

Quite a few particular person well being care professionals, significantly these on the entrance strains of the pandemic, have spoken out in regards to the Trump administration’s mismanagement of the disaster. They’ve emphasised points reminiscent of the shortage of ample private protecting tools in well being care amenities; the necessity for private motion to cut back the unfold of an infection; and the folly of untimely reopening of the economic system (look right here and right here).  They’ve actively fought disinformation in regards to the pandemic, together with that disseminated by Russia and different Trump allies, and by Trump himself (look right here). But till the final week there have been just a few cases of physicians in positions of management and affect keen to help their colleagues on the entrance strains of their problem to President Trump.

In September, after the Trump administration’s whole mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic had turn out to be manifest, and in response to its efforts to show the CDC, the lead US public well being company, right into a propaganda outlet, we complained that no well being care leaders, “no chairpersons, deans, chancellors, vice-presidents for well being affairs,

college presidents; or journal editors, hospital executives,
leaders {of professional} societies, executives of well being care
companies, and many others, and many others have been keen to publicly problem Trump and his
prime collaborators.  Such leaders to this point have additionally been unwilling to
problem Trump’s efforts to unfold disinformation.”

Since then, editors of two main British medical journals have condemned the actions of the Trump administration.  Lancet Oncology and the celebrated British Medical Journal have revealed editorials calling out Trump.  

But the primary occasion of an actual problem to Trump from the leaders of US well being care didn’t come till October, 2020.  At the least it was from the editor and editorial board of maybe the best-known American medical journal, the New England Journal of Medication. They known as for Trump to be voted out of workplace for “harmful incompetence.”

Now that Trump has tried to intimidate physicians basically, days earlier than the election, there’s the start of pushback from just a few leaders of medical societies and tutorial establishments.  Per

The American School of Emergency Physicians issued a press release rebutting Trump’s  declare, calling it ‘reckless and false‘ that docs are over-counting deaths associated to COVID-19.

‘To suggest that emergency physicians
would inflate the variety of deaths from this pandemic to realize
financially is offensive, particularly as many are literally below
unprecedented monetary pressure as they proceed to bear the brunt of
COVID-19,’ the group
wrote. ‘These baseless claims not solely do a disservice to our well being care
however promulgate the damaging wave of misinformation which
continues to hinder our nation’s efforts to get the pandemic below
management and permit our nation to return to normalcy.’


 Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown College College of Public Well being, didn’t mince phrases. 

That is crap,’ he wrote of the conspiracy concept pushed by the president. ‘Everybody is aware of it.’

In a thread on Twitter, he specified by element the debunking of the speculation, blasting Trump for persevering with to hawk it. 

‘Whereas docs and nurses are dying
on the entrance strains, our leaders aren’t working to get them protecting
tools,’ Jha wrote. ‘As a substitute, they’re falsely accusing our entrance
line suppliers of fraud. It’s reprehensible

Per Forbes on Oct 31, 2020:

The president of the American School of Physicians characterised Trump’s feedback as ‘a reprehensible assault on physicians’ ethics and professionalism.’

Per CNN:

Susan Bailey, the president of the American Medical Affiliation, stated in
a press release that the declare that docs are overcounting Covid-19
sufferers or ‘mendacity to line their pockets is a malicious, outrageous, and
fully misguided cost


Higher late than by no means. Kudos to the ACEP, ACP, AMA, and the Dean of the Brown College of Public Well being. (Full disclosure: I’m a voluntary school member on the Alpert Medical College at Brown College.)  

However the place are all of the leaders of the opposite medical societies, and all the opposite US tutorial medical establishments, to not point out the leaders of US hospitals and different well being care organizations? The pandemic is getting worse and the election in three days.

We stated in Might:  

So well being care professionals making an attempt simply to uphold their mission to place
sufferers’ and the general public’s well being first have stumbled right into a battle
far past something now we have seen in our lifetimes.  Upholding the
mission shall be troublesome, disagreeable, fairly seemingly harmful.  The
hazard isn’t just from the virus, however from our fellow people.  That
doesn’t make the mission any much less essential.  Harmless lives are nonetheless
hanging within the steadiness.

We might retreat in concern from the highly effective opposition now we have stirred
up.  That might enable full politicization of the administration of the
coronavirus pandemic, probably resulting in elevated illness and demise
(and paradoxically, even worse financial disruption).  Retreating would
betray our sufferers and make a mockery of our mission.  Or we might
persist.  What is going to or not it’s? ‘And if not now, when?’

It’s Halloween, October 31, 2020.  Once more, “if not now, when?”



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