State Rep. Beau LaFave and all hospitals in the Upper Peninsula are urging Gov. Whitmer to allow all life-saving medical procedures to resume.
LaFave said the U.P.’s 14 hospitals have communicated to him that they need Gov. Whitmer to ease her executive orders to allow them to resume quality of life care and preventative procedures. The lawmaker will soon join colleagues in submitting a letter to the governor urging her to consider the health of all patients, not just those affected by COVID-19.
“The U.P. has an extremely low number of COVID-19 cases. Our hospitals should be trusted to make the best decisions for their patients, and all of the hospitals in the U.P. have stressed to me that they have over three weeks of PPE stockpiled and even more coming in to safely perform these surgeries while following COVID-19 guidelines,” said LaFave, of Iron Mountain. “The governor can deem these surgeries non-essential all she wants, but these they certainly are essential to those in need of them.
“Prohibiting patients from getting the healthcare that they need will kill more Yoopers over the long-haul than the COVID-19 outbreak. Procedures such as organ transplants, colonoscopies, PT/full body cancer cell detection scan and pain remediation surgeries need to be permitted. Delaying detection of cancer never increases positive outcomes. Individuals living with untreated chronic pain are more likely to become dependent upon on opioids and are at a substantially increased risk of committing suicide. If the governor’s executive orders and restrictions on doctors, hospitals, and patients continue, we will see increased instances of substance abuse, suicide, and death due to preventative illnesses. Lack of healthcare for the 300,000 plus residents of the UP will lead to more deaths than the tragic loss of the 12 lives we have experienced due to COVID-19.
LaFave said the problem is not limited to hospitals. Primary care providers, eye care, dental care, and other doctors are also unable to provide necessary quality of life procedures. In addition, LaFave encouraged the governor to allow veterinarian care to resume. He said failure to do so will result in the unnecessary death or illness of our non-human family members and would lead to unnecessary additional mental strain during these trying times.
“It is not the role of the government to put one citizen’s health at a higher priority than another’s,” LaFave said. “I trust our U.P. medical professionals to do what is best for their patients. I wish the governor would place that same trust in them as well. Our health care professionals have taken extensive steps to ensure these facilities – especially those in rural areas – can safely resume caring for all patients and the governor should let them do so immediately.”
LaFave also approved House Resolution 20 to create a bipartisan oversight committee to review new and existing executive orders issued by the governor during the coronavirus outbreak and help address any issues that arise.
The Joint Select Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic will include five legislators from the House and five from the Senate. LaFave said its existence will maintain key foundations of state government – checks and balances, involvement of the Legislature and its role as a conduit to the people it represents.