Letters to the Editor: Doctors selling coronavirus tests to their rich patients aren’t helping
A box of coronavirus test kits at a medical office in Huntington Beach on Thursday.
(Los Angeles Times)
MARCH 25, 2020
To the editor: I am a physician practicing in Southern California. I read with increasing anger the article on Dr. Jay Gordon and other physicians in private practice selling coronavirus test kits to their affluent patients.
As I go to work in a hospital where the rationing of our personal protective equipment is a reality, and where guidelines for testing are rigid and conform with government guidelines, I find it disgusting that these high-end practices in a time of crisis are still catering to the rich and well-connected.
I would ask Gordon if “providing the best medical care possible” involves alternative vaccine schedules and testing asymptomatic people when it won’t change their medical course. If so, then he should provide his expertise to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as these are not their current recommendations.
Look at the distribution of COVID-19 patients in Southern California, and you will find they are concentrated in the wealthiest communities. This just tells me that they are getting access to tests while everybody else waits in line.
As physicians we must collectively lead as a group, setting profit and patient “wants” aside to assure that everyone gets the best care possible.
Dr. Jacqueline Pachon, Chatsworth
To the editor: From a public health perspective, we should make coronavirus testing widely available for triage, research and treatment purposes.
Gordon has been justifiably criticized for supporting the rights of parents to refuse or delay vaccinations. But it is not as clear that helping his patients get test kits is wrong.
If the federal government has withheld approval of home tests because they are dangerous or wildly inaccurate, they should not be sold by anyone. If the approval has been held up due to limited availability, then the government is letting the public down.
Dr. Thomas Einstein, Santa Monica
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