Manitoba ICU doctor pens open letter aimed at repairing ‘failing’ critical care services

A Winnipeg Intensive Care Unit doctor says critical care services are failing with the health system buckling under the weight of COVID-19.

In an open letter to the government obtained by Global News, Dr. Dan Roberts questions recent government moves in its pandemic response and management of healthcare.

Dr. Roberts is a critical care physician at Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre.

“As we enter the second holiday season since COVID emerged, it seems that all reason and accountability has been abandoned by those in authority,” Dr. Roberts write.

The letter is signed by eight other doctors.

Read more: Some Manitoba patients may be shipped elsewhere to help clear surgery backlog

The doctor outlined a number of steps to ward off what he calls “preventable deaths” — beginning with the need to strictly enforce public health orders.

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  • Public health orders need to be strictly enforced, with fines and closures if necessary, including in under-vaccinated communities.
  • Vaccination for school age children should be required if they are to continue to attend school in person. Clear medical exemptions must be allowed.
  • Rapid Covid testing must be made widely available to schools and businesses as in most other provinces.
  • Holiday gatherings should be restricted to family members only.

Read more: Manitoba doctors warn healthcare system straining under increasing COVID-19 numbers

Doctor Roberts’ says the second goal must be the restoration of surgical and diagnostic services as well as clinic capacity in vital areas.

  • Federal assistance in the form of armed forces ICU health workers should be requested immediately to maintain current ICU capacity.
  • Redeployed personnel must be returned to their surgery, ambulatory care and diagnostic services as soon as replacements are available.

“It’s time for this government to stop fabricating spin, admit its failures and demonstrate actual concern for its citizens,” wrote Dr. Roberts.

“That first hope of democracy can only be realized when an informed and reasoning public remains vigilant and demands that those in power do their jobs.”

Global News has reached out the Health Minister Audrey Gordon’s office for comment.

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Manitoba minister unveils 5-step plan to tackle medical backlog due to COVID-19

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