FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Ariane Le Chevallier
Following is a statement from Maxine E. Dexter, M.D., a pulmonary and critical care physician in Portland, Ore. who sounded the alarm on Coronavirus. Together with her colleagues, Dr. Dexter organized letters to Gov. Kate Brown (signed by more than 430 Oregon physicians) and Vice President Mike Pence (signed by more than 5,000 physicians nationwide):
“In response to the Coronavirus pandemic that is devastating entire countries, I no longer believe I can in good faith participate in campaigning activities as a candidate for the Oregon State House of Representatives, District-33 seat. Moments like these are why I chose to become a critical care physician. I am going to do everything in my power to save as many lives as possible.
I will not be doing any fundraising, events, campaign meetings, canvassing, debates or endorsement queries. We have run an extraordinary campaign thus far. From here on out I will defer to my team for any and all campaign work. I want them to prioritize their health and that of their family’s at this most unusual time. My name will remain on the Democratic primary ballot on May 19, and I hope to have our community’s support.
Our country is heading toward the same fate as Asia and Europe, as we face the worst public health crisis of our time. Every health care provider in our state is doing everything they can to prepare for a sudden and dramatic influx of patients. Our hospitals do not have sufficient general or critical care capacity to handle the predicted surge of patients.
It is imperative that every physician, nurse, respiratory therapist and other front-line health care provider has the support and tools needed to fight this pandemic. My colleagues and I are horrified at the thought of having to choose which patients live and which patients die. We each must do every single thing we can to prevent the spread so that health care providers don’t have to make such impossible decisions.
Additionally, we are running very low on the protective equipment every health care provider needs to safely see patients and prevent further spread of the virus. Health care workers are afraid as we see colleagues around the world admitted to the hospital or even dying from this infection.
I want to do everything I can to prevent losing even one of my colleagues to this pandemic. We have to problem-solve and work with partners and innovators across the state to address the gaps in our supply chains.”
Note to media: In the interest of public health, Dr. Dexter will respond to as many media requests as possible, though response times may be delayed.