Letters to the Editor

Letter: The costs of non-vaccination

We just returned from the airport, where we put a relative on the plane. He had flown to Anchorage last week to have a stent placement. After he recovered from the procedure a day later, he went to the airport to fly back to Sitka.

He collapsed in the airport. The ambulance picked him up, but couldn’t take him back to the hospital where he had the procedure. Anchorage’s two large hospital emergency rooms were full. The ambulance was instructed to take him to Alaska Native Medical Center. He remained there in the ER for two days. (There had been no available beds to move him out of the ER).

It’s so very sad that those who are vaccinated and need acute medical care suffer because of those who, despite the advice of respected and experienced health care professionals, refuse to get vaccinated. Not only are the vaccinated patients at risk, but also our heroic health care workers are exhausted and emotionally spent.

What a contrast between last year and this year. Last year, Anchorage had a Democratic mayor. This year, a Republican was voted in. The difference in leadership is stark and troubling. It has been especially devastating for the folks who live in small communities around the state where there are no hospitals and, at best, a health clinic.

Particularly poignant were the comments by Dr. Tim Lemaire, a family practitioner and member of the Norton Sound Health Corp. Incident Command Team. “We don’t have COVID here, but we can’t get our regular patients care because of COVID everywhere else.”

— Barbara Gazaway


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