Hopkins ensures there are no safe places left to get health care in Maryland

In a recent article, a spokesperson for Johns Hopkins Medicine justifies their decision to drop masking by saying that it was consistent with what most other health care and hospital systems were doing. It’s certainly true that other healthcare and hospital systems are doing the same thing, but I think it’s important to put this statement in context.

If you don’t want to risk long covid or the heart, lung, brain, or vascular issues associated with covid infections, or if you are higher risk and a covid infection is likely to kill you outright, then hearing Hopkins justify dropping universal masking because “it’s what most other places are doing” is like hearing them say “Yes, all these other health care organizations are making health care lethally dangerous, and because of that, we think the best thing is for us do our part to make sure there are no safe places left at all.”

That may sound harsh, but it is the reality they are creating by doing this. For me and many higher-risk people I know, there are no safe places left to get health care. “Everyone else is doing it” isn’t an argument that Hopkins should be doing it, too. It’s an admission that they know that they are taking away the last safe option many of us have.

I have had more and more and more conversations over the last few months with friends about “My doctor/dentist/clinic/etc just dropped masking; do you know anywhere in the area I can still get treatment?” interspersed with conversations with friends who contracted covid, like one friend who said two months after his COVID infection:

“I still don’t feel the difference between hot or cold”

“I don’t have an appetite, I need to set timers to eat or drink”

“I’m in constant burning pain…but trying to be upbeat about it”

‘Trying to be upbeat about it.’ Speaking as a high risk person myself, that feels like the common tenor of so many of my conversations with friends these days. “Yeah, I can’t safely go to the rheumatologist anymore, so we’re just going to have to hope for the best and try to stay positive”.

When patients they haven’t seen for a while die of things that might have been treatable if they had been caught or treated sooner, I’m sure some of the doctors responsible for these decisions will talk about how important care is to staying healthy. When they do, I hope they reflect on their role in making healthcare too dangerous to get.

Together, for a safer Maryland.


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