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Letters to the Editor: Community responds to mayor’s comments

“It was deeply disappointing to hear Mayor Charlie Pierce’s comments at the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting … “

To the editor:

I was dismayed to read about the attack on my colleagues in the Central Peninsula Hospital emergency room in the Clarion’s Aug. 18 article “Mayor blasts hospital over COVID-19 treatment.”

My medical and nursing colleagues in the emergency room are doing the supremely taxing work of taking care of unprecedented numbers of sick patients and also providing the best treatment supported by evidence and national guidelines — monoclonal antibody infusions — to high-risk COVID patients to reduce their risk of hospitalization and death. These infusions are time consuming and are not available in many communities across the country because the logistics of providing them in addition to the usual work of running an emergency room are so challenging.

As a scientifically trained physician, I rely on peer-reviewed studies and recommendations from qualified experts at the CDC, FDA, Infectious Disease Society of America and other national professional organizations. I tend to be very skeptical of claims from websites advertising cures that are too good to be true or that are selling products for profit.

I support enrolling qualified patients in clinical trials to learn more about what treatments may be effective against new diseases.

At this time, multiple high-quality, peer-reviewed, independent, scientific studies have made abundantly clear that the best protection against serious illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19 is getting one of the three vaccines that are available free of charge at many locations around the peninsula.

As a physician and scientist I encourage people to see their personal primary care provider for medical advice.

Kristin Mitchell, MD, FACP

Soldotna

^ ************

As your community internal medicine providers, it has been an honor and a privilege to care for the people in this community. We always strive to bring evidence-based and compassionate care to all of our patients as well as the community at large.

It was deeply disappointing to hear Mayor Charlie Pierce’s comments at the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 18, which was a gross misstep in his role as mayor to provide medical recommendations and demean the excellent care provided by our emergency room colleagues.

It is our belief that medical decision-making should remain between a person and their doctor without input from politicians.

The opinions expressed by Mayor Pierce are not only scientifically inaccurate, but undermine the considerable effort that the medical professionals in this community have made to combat this pandemic. There is no evidence for the treatments that the mayor advocated for, and in the case of hydroxychloroquine, it has been found to be harmful, which is the reason why the vast majority of doctors in this country do not recommend it.

We appreciated the comments made by Soldotna City Council member Justin Ruffridge, who has been a true leader in our community in the response to COVID. The COVID vaccine is safe and is the best defense we have in combatting this virus and we strongly encourage our patients and the rest of the community to discuss any questions or concerns that they have with their health care providers.

Sincerely,

Nicholas Berlon, MD

Anna Boutwell, NP

John Bramante, MD

Kristin Mitchell, MD

Cindy Nickels, NP

Gail Pokorney, MD

Alexa Rodin, MD

Megan Roosen-Runge, MD

^ ***********

Unfortunately for Mayer Pierce, the Central Peninsula Hospital emergency room physicians are also unable, or unwilling, to treat ignorance as well.

So you are safe to continue spreading your misinformation.

One day there might be a cure for stupid. In the meantime, all the medical people who actually went to medical school and have medical degrees just have to listen to your uneducated BS opinions and unsolicited advice. Thanks for helping us out.

Matthew Olds

Kalifornsky

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