In time of crisis we want our political leaders to follow the advice given by the experts. Outside of the stray instance of a politician being a subject matter expert we are better off when impartial advisor’s opinions are followed. However, that doesn’t mean blindly accepting the governmental decisions. A quote from the Philippines succinctly states what we should be doing. (The quote is truncated after the pertinent part is displayed.)
The sentiment holds true regardless of if the leader is President Trump, Governor Abbott, Judge Hidalgo or Mayor Turner. We need to wish them and their team success; but we also should be vigilant, critique, and make suggestions as appropriate. We are now well into the crisis and enough time has passed to form judgments on how the governmental response is progressing. Also, locally, since Covid testing for asymptomatic individuals is now available the management tools to combat the crisis are different. Now is the time to make suggestions on how to proceed and hope that our elected leaders are inclined to listen and consider well-meaning advice.
I previously posted about my son and pointed out that Judge Hidalgo appears to care more about criminals than her constituents who are hurting. Things are grim. While he has done better than expected he twice had blood pressure crash in the past twenty four hours, including receiving a crying call from Rochelle to get to the hospital at 1:30 AM. This is in the context of the policy in place excluding both parents. While part of the sentiment criticizing Judge Hidalgo was driven by the situation another part was driven by the fact that, contrary to opinion of many here, she is very smart. She can act to remedy the stressor of parents, not just me but all parents, not allowed to see their hospitalized children.
Governor Abbott’s order restricted the following:
In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, people shall not visit nursing homes, state supported living centers, assisted living facilities, or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance as determined through guidance from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.
And limits and empowers local officials as follows:
This executive order shall supersede any conflicting order issued by local officials in response to the COVD-19 disaster, but only to the extent that such a local order restricts essential services allowed by this executive order or allows gatherings prohibited by this executive order. I hereby suspend Sections 418.1015(b) and 418.108 of the Texas Government Code, Chapter 81, Subchapter E of the Texas Health and Safety Code, and any other relevant statutes, to the extent necessary to ensure that local officials do not impose restrictions inconsistent with this executive order, provided that local officials may enforce this executive order as well as local restrictions that are consistent with this executive order.
The order applies to long term care facilities, but both Texas Children’s Hospital and Children’s Memorial are acute care facilities so don’t fall under the prohibition of the Governor’s order. The local elected officials have the authority to impose local restrictions consistent with the order and can impose what Covid restrictions are in place at the two children hospitals in the medical center.
Judge Hidalgo’s advocacy for releasing criminals was a good legal argument. Bad facts make bad law and that iteration of her decree failed, but the legal underpinnings were solid. She’s getting good guidance about what she can and cannot do. A different iteration of the reasoning can be used to end the fear parents face of not being able to see their children.
Now that Covid testing is available for asymptomatic individuals it’s time for one of our elected leaders to step up and use the power they have to end parental exclusion. Reserve some of the tests that are going to go to asymptomatic individuals and test the parents excluded from hospitals. When they test negative they do not pose a threat to the health of the hospital workers and accordingly do not threaten the integrity of available care. That achieves both the necessary goal of protecting the finite healthcare resources available to treat the Covid crisis as well as serves to ensure that sick children get the best care and suffering parents have their burdens lessened.
We want our leaders to follow the expert’s advice, but also need to take steps to mitigate the suffering imposed by the restrictions. No one can understand all aspects of the crisis; that’s why vigilance, critique, and making suggestions are important. Judge Hidalgo (and also Mayor Turner since the hospitals are in Houston city limits) has the power to continue to preserve hospital resources while easing the burdens parents of sick children are facing. It’s time to step up and improve the order to achieve the same protective effects while limiting the harm resulting from the order.