May 28th, 2024

An open letter from docs on the front lines

By Letter to the Editor on March 17, 2020.

We are emergency physicians in Alberta, and we need you to read this.

We see a potential disaster coming that may result in an overwhelmed health-care system and much suffering. We have seen this in Italy and elsewhere. Right now, in Italian hospitals, front-line physicians are choosing who lives and dies; people who could otherwise be helped are being left to die because there simply aren’t enough resources to go around. We do not want this, and we fear that this is coming.

System overload isn’t just about COVID-19. An overwhelmed system fails everyone: the trauma patients, the heart attacks, the cancer patients, the kids, all of us. We must act quickly. The only way to lessen disaster is to slow the rate of new infections.

We must act now. It is better to over-react now and scale back restrictions later. We don’t get a second chance to contain this and prevent millions of infections and unknown numbers of deaths. Our window of time to control this in Canada is closing fast. We have been paying attention to our Italian physician colleagues and watching their sorrow. A few days from now may be too late.

Think of COVID-19 as a fire: every case is a new spark. Our public health system can chase and find many sparks, but if there are too many sparks, a fire will happen that we can’t put out quickly, and then it gets out of control. We must act now, and everyone needs to participate, not just those at risk. We must all do what we can to prevent the spread. We must act together to try to prevent disaster.

Here is what you can do:

– Wash your hands. Avoid crowds. Work from home, if you can.

– Cancel your travel plans. If you have loved ones abroad, encourage them to come home now.

– Talk to your relatives and friends about how they can avoid catching this, and about what to do if they become sick. Have a network in place to provide essentials for those who are at home. Stay in touch by phone and protect our vulnerable citizens.

– If you are sick, even a little, stay home.

– If you are worried, call Health Link or call your doctor, or go to

– If you are very ill, call 911.

– If you have been traveling outside of Canada, follow the public health recommendations and self-quarantine.

Be bold. Be decisive. Pay attention. We must look after each other. We commend the swift action of our public health leaders. Listen to their recommendations!

As emergency physicians, we will work hard to take care of you, no matter what.

This is serious, and we need your help. We need to work together to have our best chance at altering the course of this pandemic.

Together we need to #ShutitDown.

Dr. Duncan Mackey

Dr. Bilal Mir

Dr. Kevin Martin

Dr. Peter Kwan

Dr. Sharon Fehr

Dr. Sean Wilde

Dr. Matthew Kriese

Dr. Magda Lisztwan

Dr. Stephanie Brass

Dr. Ehi Iyayi

Dr. Wesley Orr

Dr. Nicholas Hamilton

Dr. Alan Wilde

Dr. Richard Buck

Dr. Ryan Derman

Dr. Brian Rowe

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Southern Albertan

While we are being warned by Alberta Emergency physicians, “Alberta Health Services has announced that at the direction of the Minister of Health, Tyler Shandro, the contracts for three of the province’s largest diagnostic image providers, are being pulled. These radiology groups provide the majority of service in Edmonton and Calgary, including the major hospitals.” The negative trickle-down effect to emergency services, remains. The timing by the Kenney UCP of this diagnostic imaging announcement during a pandemic, is glaringly mind-boggling. Many xrays, scans, MRIs, etc., are required before surgeries, and this cutback to diagnostic imaging services flies in the face of promised shortened surgery wait times.
The Kenney UCP has also “revealed that they would force through an austerity budget designed eventually to lay off nurses and cut doctors pay.”
No wonder many folks are now saying they are sorry they voted for the Kenney UCP and that they didn’t think it would “get this bad.”

John P Nightingale

Agreed completely.

Southern Albertan

Read this and see what you think about intravenous vitamin C in the treatment of COVID-19:
“More Research is Killing COVID-19 Victims”
We’ll see, I guess, about what further research comes up with, but, if myself, or one of my loved ones ends up critically ill in ICU on a ventilator because of COVID-19, I/my family, would consider insisting on this being done, i.e.intravenous vitamin C (IVC).

Southern Albertan

There seems to be some evidence to suggest now, that folks with blood Type A are more susceptible to the coronavirus and can get more ill, as compared, for example, to those with Type O blood.
It may be, that considering blood type, may indicate that “medics and governments consider blood types when assessing how at risk a patient may be.”