• Karen Tran-Harding

Will some Physicians continue to support Trump?

Updated: Nov 23, 2020

During a campaign rally in Wisconsin, President Trump said this:

If somebody's sick with a heart problem, and they die of COVID they say they die of a heart problem. If somebody's terminally ill with cancer and they have COVID, we report them. And you know doctors get more money and hospitals get more money. Think of this incentive."

I get it - I always try my hardest to understand how the other side thinks. Trump desperately wants to win re-election. He even likely truly believes what he is saying (or what his campaign aides or administration told him to say). For all the criticism of his handling of the coronavirus public health crisis, he has to downplay the actual pandemic’s impact as much as he can appease his followers. And of course, to further secure supporters, Trump has to assert blame on someone else for the high number of cases and the U.S. death toll.

About a week later in the final stretch of the Presidential campaign, Trump had this to say to the crowd:

"You know, our doctors get more money if somebody dies from COVID. You know that, right? I mean, our doctors are very smart, what they do is they say, 'I'm sorry, but, you know, everybody dies of COVID.'"

So not only was he essentially blaming doctors for the “over-inflated” number of cases but now he is implying physicians may actually benefit from a COVID-19 death. He’s accusing the very same people that are risking their own and their loved ones health every single day, treating patients despite lack of personal protection equipment, skipping meals and proper sleep to care for as many patients as possible, working more hours for less money, losing their jobs due to the pandemic, and even dying from the coronavirus.

I know a lot of health care providers that are Trump supporters. They want him to be re-elected for a number of reasons, not just for how he is handling the coronavirus pandemic. But after all these disparaging statements, are they going to continue to support him?

I’m not even a frontline worker myself. I’m a Radiologist with the luxury of performing urgent procedures, after my patients have already tested negative for the coronavirus. But for my fellow physicians (including my own husband), nurses, technologists, EMTs, pharmacists, therapists, technicians, and so much more who are risking their lives to treat COVID-19 patients every single day, all of these statements must be quite infuriating for all of them. And what do Dr. Conley and the team of physicians that took care of President Trump during his own COVID-19 diagnosis think?

And hey, if Trump and his administration have the data to show everyone, then everyone in the scientific community would love to see it. Evidence based medicine is what educates us so that we can best care for our patients. When data and statistics show that something works and contributes to saving lives, then those are the facts that end up in our textbooks and medical journals we use for endless years of training. Why would anyone want us to go right out there and try some new surgical procedure or medication and just “see if it works”? All health care professionals base their practice off of science so if a politician wants to say a potentially deceptive comment then all we ask is for the proof.

I know it’s all just politics, right? That policymakers need to do whatever they possibly can to secure re-election. Even if that means using human beings as pawns to shoulder blame in order to win the game. And of course, because I’m a physician myself I’m hypersensitive to these statements regarding me and my colleagues. But what’s crazy is that despite what is being said about them during a health care crisis, all frontline workers would risk their lives over and over again without question just to save one life.

So in an era where doctors are starting to feel attacked, insulted, and jaded, I can’t help but wonder – will some of my fellow physicians continue to support Trump?

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