Florida hospital board meeting draws crowd of COVID-19 critics

Political troubles regarding Sarasota (Fla.) Memorial Hospital's COVID-19 policies and treatment protocols continue to extend to board meetings.

The latest board meeting took place on March 20 after a recently published internal review concluded the hospital saw stronger outcomes among COVID-19 patients than other hospitals. 

More than 50 people signed up to provide public comment during the meeting, most of whom were unhappy with the review, according to the Herald-Tribune.

Some people insinuated the hospital prescribed certain medications for "kickbacks" from pharmaceutical companies, while others touted "alternative treatments" for the virus and used words like "killing fields" and "biochemical warfare," the newspaper reported. Others thanked clinicians for their work at Sarasota Memorial.

The board meeting came as the hospital continues to face political pressure after residents elected three "medical freedom" candidates to the hospital's board in 2022. 

The election of these three trustees — who operate under the ideology of "medical freedom" and exercise skepticism about hospitals, clinicians and COVID-19 vaccines and treatments — incited much of the turmoil. 

"Along with their election came a slew of issues. Chief among them was the desire to have the hospital review its COVID performance and issue a public report, which was released last month," Kim Savage, Sarasota Memorial's public relations manager, said in a March 3 statement emailed to Becker's.  

Critics have taken aim at the hospital following federal guidelines, and hospital officials asked police earlier this month to look into death threats made against physicians at Sarasota Memorial. Physicians and staff at the hospital also faced a slew of abusive threats and emails, although those have died down, according to a March 14 email from Ms. Savage. 

Still, the hospital board continued to face criticism during the March 20 meeting, which was among some of the first meetings to include the new board members.

After hearing criticism, no board members indicated they saw a need or desire for another review of Sarasota Memorial's COVID-19 policies and treatment protocols, according to the Herald-Tribune.

"I think it's pretty clear in listening to some of the comments that there are issues that can be controlled at Sarasota Memorial Hospital and there are issues that are out of our control," Board Chairman Tramm Hudson told the audience, according to the newspaper. " ... We're very focused on trying to deliver health care here in Sarasota. We can't control stuff that happens outside our control."


Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars