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Please add Breonna Taylor to the List

Breonna Taylor was (please note I said was) a 26 yo female (emergency room EMT) who was shot and killed by police on March 13. It was after midnight. She was in bed with her boyfriend. It is unclear if she woke up or not. The door was kicked in by police. Her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, called 911 saying someone was breaking in their apartment. He then grabbed his gun and started shooting. The police returned fire hitting Walker and killing Breonna.

According to reports the police used a “no knock” warrant to enter the house. They thought that this particular house was being used by a drug dealer to sell and house drugs. The drug dealer was already in police custody.

This raises several questions:

  • Why is a “no knock” warrant necessary? What is the criteria for using a “no knock” warrant? Who signed off on the warrant? What questions were asked? If the judge didn’t ask any questions then want is the purpose of the judge?
  • How solid was the information that drugs were being sold at that location? Since the police didn’t find any drugs it is important to look at the source of the information.
  • Shouldn’t the police be 80 – 90% sure before breaking down the door? I understand the need for breaking down a door but couldn’t the police have observed the house for a day or 2? What was the rush? Why did you have go right away?
By |2020-06-02T22:24:27-04:00June 2nd, 2020|Domestic Issues, Race|0 Comments

April 2020 Newsletter – Coronavirus

I published this in the Urban News

Coronavirus, Nursing Homes and Trump’s Complete Failure
Errington C Thompson, MD

It is kind of amazing. It has only been a couple of months, toward the end of December, when China announced that the discovery of a new virus in the city of Wuhan. It was a coronavirus. It was different than SARS, which we saw more than a decade ago. Two weeks later, in the middle of January, China announced the first death secondary to this novel coronavirus (Covid-19).

On January 20, a man in his thirties returned to the US from Wuhan and fell ill with the coronavirus. This man returned to his home in Washington state. By this time, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, and other countries were reporting cases of the coronavirus. Ten days later, on January 30, the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency.

In early February, in Kirkland, Washington, the Life Care Center nursing home seemed to be battling an unusual number of their residents’ contracting what appeared to be the flu. One resident after another got sick, and even after several days, these residents did not seem to be getting better. They were taken to the hospital: one after another died.

As of two weeks ago, 29 of these nursing home residents had died because of the Covid-19. According to a Washington Post article, 30 of the 43 remaining residents have tested positive for the coronavirus. Forty-six of the nursing home’s 180 employees have also tested positive. Which makes us ask, what special precautions did this nursing home take in early February to try to prevent the spread of this virus?

This is a new virus, yet in a very short period of time, we have learned a lot about it. It is a respiratory virus, meaning that it is passed from one human being to another, by mostly coughing and inhaling the virus. We know that it is highly contagious.

Currently we do not have a cure. Supportive treatment works in a lot of patients, but not all: there are many patients who are dying of the Covid-19 virus. We have heard reports of vaccines being developed, but they are not ready yet. We have heard that old drugs like hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin (touted by President Trump) may be useful in treating this virus, but experts have stated that these claims are highly dubious, at best.

One of the great myths that surround this virus is that it attacks only the elderly; this is 100% wrong. The other myth is that only the elderly will die with this virus. This is also wrong. Perfectly healthy, young, active people have contracted this virus, gotten sick, and even died.

It is now the beginning of April 2020. The coronavirus has been detected in all 50 states. Yes, it’s in North Dakota, New Mexico, and here in West Virginia. States all over the nation have enacted “social distancing” in order to try to stem the spread of the virus. All but nine states—all with Republican governors—have mandated “stay-at-home” orders closing countless restaurants and other businesses.

And as of April 3, there were almost 300,000 diagnosed cases of Covid-19, and more than 7,000 deaths from the virus, just in the United States.

Nursing Homes

With everything that has happened at the Kirkland Life Care Center, what precautions have nursing homes enacted? Are these precautions universal?

Nursing homes contain a population uniquely vulnerable to the coronavirus. It would seem reasonable that nursing homes would test every single patient. Then, if the nursing home does not have any patients with the coronavirus, its managers would make sure that the coronavirus never invades the nursing home. They would lock down the nursing home. No visitors who haven’t been tested. All patients coming in would have to be tested: and every new resident must have a negative test before entering the nursing home. All employees would need to be tested, on an ongoing, regular basis.

(more…)

By |2020-04-28T10:20:14-04:00April 28th, 2020|Coronavirus, Domestic Issues, Healthcare|0 Comments

So far so good

I don’t know what to tell you. As Trump works daily to save his presidency, we sit here and watch the drama unfold.

I’m in my house for the most part. I’m a trauma surgeon. I’m still in the hospital – some. I’m still taking trauma call. But with people mostly staying at home, trauma volumes are down. We aren’t seeing the number of motor vehicle crashes and motorcycle crashes that we normally do. We are seeing tons of ATV crashes. We are taking care of more stabbings and gunshot wounds.

I’m following the Coronavirus (Covid-19) just like everyone else. I’m reading. There are tons of stories but not a lot of data. I’m posting West Virginia Covid-19 maps on my other blog.

Finally, we need to be thoughtful about opening up the state or the country. It seems to me that we a comprehensive testing program. I really don’t want to sit on a crowded airplane with a guy sitting next to me, coughing up coronavirus. I don’t want to sit in a movie theater and hear the dude behind me cough. Sure, we have had coughing in public before but that we a cold. That was something that I have antibodies against. That’s something that my body knows how to fight off, at least at some level. My body knows nothing about Covid-19. Nothing. We need tons more testing. The testing needs to fast, easy and free!! We need quick turn around times on these tests. If I get tested in the morning, I need results that afternoon. That’s how we can safely open up the country. We also need public health officials to be able to track down those who are positive. If you test and test positive, you have to stay home until you are no longer infectious.

Be well. Be safe. WE can get thru this together.

By |2020-04-21T18:11:37-04:00April 21st, 2020|Domestic Issues, Healthcare|0 Comments