REVEALED: Pandemic took 'back seat' to 'big lie' in Trump White House — even for medical experts
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A Trump adviser acknowledged in numerous emails last year that the administration's response to the COVID-19 pandemic was taking a "back seat" to efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Dr. Steven Hatfill, a virologist who was heavily involved in the Trump administration's...
A few hours later, a few floors up in the ICU, another patient called his family over Zoom. He said what might be his last goodbye, as doctors, nurses and a respiratory therapist got him ready for intubation.

Since the fourth surge began, the Idaho Capital Sun has interviewed dozens of Idaho health care workers about what they've seen on the front lines of the war with COVID-19.

The Sun confirmed their employment but allowed some of them to speak anonymously — so they could speak freely and because the events now happening in Idaho hospitals are so similar as to be virtually interchangeable.

No health care worker revealed any patient's identity or private medical information.

Things are 'different' in the ER, but patients still get care

It was the weekend before Labor Day. As an ICU doctor and a member of Idaho's crisis standards committee, Dr. Rebecca Legg wasn't on vacation. She was waiting for a phone call.

"I've lived with this, now, for a year and a half," Legg said in an interview that weekend. "How are we going to do this?"

Not only was Legg treating COVID-19 patients for Saint Alphonsus Health System, she spent the pandemic immersed in ethical quandaries. She helped to write Idaho's framework for health care providers to use when a catastrophe forces them to make life-or-death choices.

That framework would guide Idaho through "crisis standards of care."

On Labor Day, Legg and the rest of Idaho's 33-member crisis standards committee got the call: Coeur d'Alene's Kootenai Health needed permission to ratchet down the quality of its medical care. It was so overloaded that hospital staff turned a classroom into a medical unit.

With the committee's recommendation, Idaho Health and Welfare Director Dave Jeppesen on Sept. 6 activated crisis standards for North Idaho.

Idaho's largest health system made its own request the following week, and Jeppesen on Sept. 16 expanded "crisis standards" to the entire state. Then, he experienced the crisis…
John Wright
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