Black ER doctor blocked from hospital after tweet about ICU bed shortage
'I truly believe I have a moral obligation to Arizonans to be honest with them.'
A Black emergency-room doctor was barred from an Arizona hospital after tweeting his frustration over the lack of ICU beds.
Cleavon Gilman’s critical tweet was posted the week of Thanksgiving, resulting in him being prohibited from doing his job, NBC News reports.
In the series of tweets, Gilman addressed Gov. Doug Ducey directly, inquiring about the available beds he promised as COVID-19 cases surge.
“What happened to the 175 beds??? We likely don’t have nursing to staff them. This is not good,” Gilman wrote.
His Twitter rant garnered about 82K likes but also resulted in Gilman receiving a call from the company he worked for, Envision Healthcare, informing him that the hospital, Yuma Regional Medical Center, no longer wants him to treat patients.
“They told me it was because of the tweets and I couldn’t believe it, because that was accurate information I posted to inform the citizens of Arizona,” he told the Arizona Republic. “It is a grave injustice and it’s not just happening to me. Doctors everywhere are afraid to speak up.”
Gilman, a former hospital corpsman in Iraq, said after he was forced to treat COVID patients in the waiting room due to the lack of beds, he felt a “moral obligation” to speak out.
“I truly believe I have a moral obligation to Arizonans to be honest with them,” Gilman said. “I can’t be quiet while more than 2,000 people are dying everyday. What kind of doctor would I be? What kind of public servant would I be? I can’t live with the silence they are asking from me.”
He added, “All I know is this hospital is trying to crush my voice, they want to silence me and they want to financially hurt me. This is all so wrong,” Gilman told the Washington Post.
In a tweet, the Yuma regional medical center responded to the controversy by noting that Gilman was not terminated, and was scheduled to return to the ER this past weekend. Gilman clapped back in a follow up tweet, saying “this is news to me.”
He told the Post that he has missed five shifts, and has not worked since November 23.
“I moved my entire family to Yuma, Arizona from NYC. Then was told ONE DAY that I could not return to work over a tweet about ICU beds,” he tweeted.
After seeing his initial tweet, President-elect Joe Biden called Gilman to praise his efforts on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Twitter account for the Biden/Harris transition wrote, “We are thankful to Dr. Gilman and all the inspiring frontline workers who risk their lives to protect us during this pandemic. We promise you this: You have a partner in the Biden-Harris administration.”
Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!
TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Roku. Download theGrio today!