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I just got a YouTube notification that a physician I follow, Suneel Dhand, who posted a new video titled “Dr. Peter Doshi Capitol Hill video REMOVED by YouTube.” I had watched the referenced video featuring Dr. Doshi, in which he pointed out the inconsistencies in the arguments used for the current push for vaccine and mask mandates.
Dr. Dhand had shown Dr. Doshi’s video in the context of his own video raising similar concerns. Dr. Dhand is by no means “antivaxx,” but favors a multifaceted approach towards treating and preventing Covid that does not coincide with the one-size-fits-all vaccine or nothing. Dhand has also been a strong proponent of ongoing discussions in the name of scientific rigor, that there is no “settled science.”
To blindly follow what a few people are saying would fly in the face of the most basic of scientific and medical reasoning. However, YouTube removed his video stating it violated community standards. He appealed its removal and received word that they would not budge from their position.
This is one of many videos that has been struck for not following the party line. YouTube is censoring scientists and physicians acting in good faith. I fully understand that YouTube as a private company can do whatever it wants. It does fall under the umbrella of big tech companies that are using their social media presence to censor free speech, and it now extends to censoring genuine scientific debate. Do these companies fall under the heading of monopolies? Do we have any ground to stand on to step in and demand they uphold freedom of speech?
Debate and discussion have been foundational to science and medicine since they became fields of study. It is how these fields grow and develop, through constant reexamination. Instead, we’re seeing science shut down in favor of a narrative that has been chosen by a few. The doctors raising questions about Covid treatments, vaccines, and masking are being silenced regardless of their political bent.
Dr. Vinay Prasad, a self-avowed Progressive, has come out loudly against the label of “misinformation” for anything that doesn’t support the vaccine or nothing position. In fact, after listening to Prasad speak in his videos, one starts to wonder if he really is as progressive as he claims. I’m heartened to see physicians speaking out against censorship and trying to uphold the critical thinking that has been a hallmark of medicine for centuries. I am heartened because my own experience with the physicians I work with has been so disheartening.
When Covid first hit, my hospital, like so many others, shut down elective surgeries and minimized inpatient hospitalization in an effort to stop the spread and keep beds open for the flux of Covid patients that must be on the horizon. My service, cardiothoracic surgery, only did elective cases for lung cancer patients and those with critical heart disease. We went from having 30+ patients on our list at any given time to three or four. The five of us advanced practice providers (PAs and NPs) were repurposed temporarily, and I was sent to manage patients in the Covid ICU alongside our colleagues in critical care and pulmonology. This was a brief sojourn of a few weeks, and we were back to our normal service.
Months later, no longer consistently caring for Covid patients, I asked a few of my colleagues in critical care if they had read any of the literature about Ivermectin, which had just come out as a possible cheap and safe treatment. I was told, “the CDC doesn’t endorse it, so we won’t consider it.” Only one critical care physician had taken the time to read the available literature. I was shocked that the physicians I worked so closely with and trusted would choose to not even read the studies to decide for themselves.
As the months went on, it became increasingly clear that the majority of doctors I work with are not reviewing the literature themselves, but rather going along with whatever the CDC and their colleges/associations say. My favorite doctor, a strong conservative normally suspicious of anything that smacks of collectivism or socialism, told me during surgery one day that I just needed to get the vaccine because “everyone is going to mandate it, and you won’t be able to go anywhere or do anything without being vaccinated, so you might as well get it.” He said this in July after the vaccine mandate was announced at hospitals across my state. I have not gotten the vaccine because I have had Covid, and natural immunity is a thing, despite what the CDC says. I have seen healthy doctors in their thirties lining up to get their Pfizer vaccines and subsequent boosters, despite the fact that Covid has a less than 1% mortality rate for that demographic. I’ve also seen doctors who had native infection roll their sleeves up to get the vaccine afterward.
While we are being beaten over the head to get everyone and their dog vaccinated, only a small group of physicians are talking about risk stratification and mitigation. When the delta strain took over, the headlines in my in-basket from medical email blasts read “Delta variant more likely to kill those under the age of 50” and “Covid deaths amongst young people highlight need to get vaccinated.” Not working in the Covid ICU consistently anymore, I was unsure about these claims. But I started hearing rumblings about the risk factors these young people had that made them susceptible to death from Covid.
I was sitting in the critical care NP office one day when one of my friends in critical care came in to call one of the large tertiary hospitals, trying to see if they would accept the transfer for a 35-year-old woman who was in the Covid ICU maxed out on her ventilator settings and getting worse. “Hi, I’ve got a 35-year-old lady with Covid. She completely maxed out on the vent, and her sats are continuing to drop and she’s increasingly difficult to oxygenate. I was wondering if you guys would be open to putting her on ECMO? She’s pretty healthy, just has diabetes and hypertension … her BMI? 45.”
Ah, there it is. My coworkers and I had noted that the young patients with Covid we were putting on ECMO in a last-ditch effort to save their lives were all very overweight. Not just overweight, but morbidly obese. A five-foot, six-inch woman would have to weigh 250 lbs to reach a BMI of 40. When I surveyed nurses and NPs in the Covid units, they all said the young people that are dying from Covid all have BMIs over 40, and often also have diabetes and hypertension, or other comorbidities.
No one is talking about this. One’s weight, blood sugar, and blood pressure are all things that can be controlled and modified. A study also showed that 97% of those who died from Covid were deficient in vitamin D. Again, something that can be addressed. But no one will talk about these things. Instead, we have vaccine mandates and a singular focus on the vaccines, even though you can still catch and spread Covid after being vaccinated.
The blind following of whatever the CDC says, the abandonment of critical thinking, and the lack of a multifaceted approach to treatment and prevention have almost destroyed my faith in the medical community. In fact, I’m almost to the point of wanting to leave. I’m not blind to the dangers of Covid, not in the least. I experienced a stillbirth in February at 33 weeks gestation. It was caused by a combination of tight nuchal cord and clot in 50% of the placenta leading to placental insufficiency. I was worked up for clotting disorders after I delivered my son, and have none. We do know, however, that Covid has a significant embolic aspect to it. At the time, I read one study that showed an increase in clots in the placentas and umbilical cords of women that had Covid during pregnancy. Even though we know this, OB/GYNs are not treating Covid-positive pregnant women with full or even partial anticoagulation. Of course, I’ll never know, but I wonder if my son would be alive today if my Covid infection had been treated differently.
Next week, Mustangman and I fly back to Portland to spend the first holiday with his family since we moved cross-country. We wanted to get together with our good friends while we’re there. The first question they asked was if we were vaccinated. I told them that Mustangman is, and I had Covid. They will only get together with us if we can find a place that has outdoor heated dining because of my unvaccinated status. They do not believe that natural immunity is a thing when it comes to Covid. We are unsure if we will be able to see our friends. Covid ruins everything.Published in