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An emergency-room doctor whose dedication throughout the coronavirus pandemic garnered praise from Joe Biden has claimed he was fired by the Arizona hospital where he worked for tweeting about the outbreak’s impact.
Cleavon Gilman told the Arizona Republic he received a call from the Yuma regional medical center on 23 November, less than a day after he shared his frustration online about the state’s lack of hospital beds in tweets that went viral. He said hospital authorities told him not to return 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,” he said. “It is a grave injustice and it’s not just happening to me. Doctors everywhere are afraid to speak up.”
Gilman told the Washington Post he arrived at the hospital the evening of 22 November for another intense 12-hour emergency room shift, only to find out it had run out of intensive care unit beds.
“Just got to work and was notified there are no more ICU beds in the state of Arizona,” he said in a tweet that has since been shared almost 30,000 times.
At the time, Arizona’s department of health services reported that 90% of the state’s ICU beds were full. Gilman told the Post he had tweeted out of “moral obligation” to the public, saying the hospital was so full that night that he had to treat Covid-19 patients in the waiting room.
After getting word of the tweet, Biden called the doctor, telling him “how much he appreciates” his efforts and those of frontline workers across the country.
Gilman, a former hospital corpsman in Iraq, worked for the facility through a healthcare staffing agency known as Envision Healthcare, moving to Yuma in June after working in New York.
He often used his Twitter profile to amplify healthcare inequities, sharing personal stories and warning against disregarding recommendations aimed at curbing the outbreak.
“All I know is this hospital is trying to crush my voice, they want to silence me and they want to financially hurt me. This is all so wrong,” Gilman told the Post.
Gilman is not alone in his plight. Several healthcare workers have spoken out about retaliation from employers.
Yuma regional medical center, however, maintained Gilman had not been fired, telling the Washington Post in a statement that he was scheduled to return to the emergency room over the weekend.
“It’s clear there has been a misunderstanding,” a spokeswoman, Shay Andres, said. “While he is not speaking on behalf of YRMC, we respect Dr Gilman’s right to share his personal perspective on the pandemic.”
In response, Gilman tweeted that that was “news to me”.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Arizona ER doctor says he was fired for tweeting about coronavirus surge | US news