Dr. Green, check what you are saying STAT

An open letter to Hawaii’s Lt. Governor Josh Green

Dear Lt. Governor Green:

I write this letter to you in the hopes that you will find some of the insight by people like me beneficial in moving the state forward during the COVID-19 crisis. I bring to your attention the actions that people would take upon the words that you say on television, almost every night.

For about a month, I have noted your tone has changed quite a bit from that of an optimistic, moving forward, to an almost doomsday end-of-world tone when talking about the increase in cases.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Sheffield, UK
While you may believe that this too shall pass, until that happens we need to watch what we say….because the price of not watching it could be deadly.
PC “Coronavirus (COVID-19) Sheffield, UK” by Tim Dennell is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Now I understand, your focus right now is on the statistics of new cases, percentage of cases, hospital utilization, and death rates. Yes, they are all going up, we can all see that. And yes, it becomes alarming when we hear about the maxing out of hospital space for patients, with the COVID-19 surge.

Putting aside any debate as to whether we should have could have and would have prepared for this wave – that is another issue, for another time, maybe in another letter, I would like to bring to your attention the way your words are affecting the people at large, here in Hawai‘i.

I would assume that you have taken a version of the “modern” Hypocritic Oath. In that oath it says this:

“I will remember that there is an art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug.”

Hippocratic Oath – Modern Version, 1964 by Louis Lasagna

As a person who has more understanding of politics, a juxtaposition that with this oath, I will simply say that the words you express strikes fear in people who have been beaten up since we went into our first lockdown in late March.

Bedside Manner
Lt. Governor Green: a doctor’s approach or attitude toward a patient. is not the same as the approach a politician needs to make to the people that elected them. Choose one, a doctor, or a politician, but please try not to play both during this. We need leaders not anxiety creators in Hawaii.
PC: “Bedside Manner” by havens.michael34 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Is striking fear in people, ramping up their anxiety, showing us that you understand this line in the oath? Does it show that you do have warmth, sympathy, and understanding for people?

Or are you showing us a new form of bedside manner, starting with the declarative statement that jolts the soul followed by a “do as I say, or else” demand to everyone?

I am sorry, Lt. Governor Green, that is not how a successful politician serves their people. And although you are seen as an expert on television for medical items, your role is that of Lt. Governor, and that should come first. That role requires you to work in the realm of politics – how to get the people on your side and making sure they feel you looking out for them.

The way you have come across the last few weeks leaves much to be desired.

I would hope that you would hear your words and determine how they sound to someone who maybe has undiagnosed anxiety, trying to absorb yet another “we need to shut things down longer” the statement from you.

Maybe then you will understand that solving the issue of COVID does not need a message that just triggers more hopelessness in the people of Hawai‘i.

After all, someday this will all be past us, but the damage done to a person during this time may not be as reparable as simply shooting a vaccine into someone’s arm.

All the Best

Stan Fichtman

Resident, Taxpayer, and Voter in the State of Hawai‘i

Note, this letter was sent to Lt. Governor Green just before publishing.