Yuma Regional Medical Center, fired emergency medicine physician, Dr. Cleavon Gilman after he posted about the impact COVID was having on the state’s hospital system, mainly the lack of ICU beds.
On November 22, he went into work at the rural hospital and learned that the ICU was completely full.
However, none of the patients were able to be transferred because no other hospitals were accepting, despite the Arizona Department of Health reporting 175 available ICU beds in the state.
“Where are these 175 available ICU beds in Arizona, b/c for a rural hospital not to find accepting hospitals is problematic. SHOW ME which hospitals have beds that are STAFFED with nurses, because a bed WITHOUT a nurse is like a plane WITHOUT a pilot – USELESS,” Gilman tweeted.
According Arizona Republic the next morning, Gilman had just arrived at the hospital when he received a call from the health care staffing company he works for, Envision Healthcare. Envision told him the hospital did not want him to come back to work.
“They told me it was because of the tweets and I couldn’t believe it because that was accurate information I posted to inform the citizens of Arizona,” Gilman said. “It is a grave injustice and it’s not just happening to me. Doctors everywhere are afraid to speak up.” He said he was scheduled to work for the next three days but the hospital “did not permit it.”
The hospital said in a statement on Thursday that “there has been a misunderstanding” and Gilman is scheduled to work this weekend. “While he is not speaking on behalf of YRMC, we respect Dr. Gilman’s right to share his personal perspective on the pandemic.”
Gilman implied that he learned of this update on social media. He responded to the statement saying “this is news to me.” He has not been to work since Nov. 23.
“What I don’t understand about this is I have been advocating for Arizona; I have been calling for a mask mandate, the closure of schools and indoor dining,” Gilman told The Arizona Republic. “I did all of this because we are seeing an unprecedented number of cases. This is my third surge — I know how this ends.”