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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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The fallout from speaking out

Uploaded: Jan 7, 2021
When Dr. Michael Deboisblanc joined with two fellow physicians to write a letter to the Contra Costa County Director of Public Health, he did so as a private citizen.

It was not connected to his job as head of the trauma center at John Muir Hospital in Walnut Creek and did not mention Muir or use Muir letterhead.

Nonetheless, instead of responding to Deboisblanc and his colleagues, the doctor said that the county health officials complained to John Muir. As a result, the hospital eliminated his contract as director of the trauma center—the only one in the county—after he had served in that position for 13 years.

Deboisblanc and I spoke Monday after he responded to my earlier inquiries to his office via email and a phone call. When I reported last week that one of his office reps was blunt when saying no to an interview request, he pointed out that he was home sleeping after doing a 24-hour shift in the trauma center. And, they had been dealing with plenty of media attention after his situation made both Bay Area TV news and Fox nationally.

The father of four is concerned about the devastating impact the lockdowns are having on students, small business owners such as barbers and stylists to say nothing of restaurants. By shutting down the personal services, he suspects that many people simply shifted their informal operations to their garages. His youngest son is in high school and missing out on anything extracurricular such as water polo that he’s played for years.

Deboisblanc points out that health officials said they were following state guidelines and then opted to lockdown before state guidelines required it. They said that was to get ahead of the spread of the virus, but it continued a policy that has simply failed to stop the spread. Compare California’s numbers, with its rigid lockdowns, with Florida where the economy has remained open—albeit with limits—and attention has been focused on sheltering those are most risk such as nursing home patients and people with underlying conditions.

“My main point is that everything you do has potential benefit and potential negative impact—I don’t think they (county public health officials) are adequately considering the downsides to some of these actions they’re taking. No balanced approach. No admission by the county that these things may be having negative effects,” he said.

He went on to mention a suicide last week by a Walnut Creek high school student as well as others in the area high schools.

When asked what he would do differently he cited The Great Barrington Declaration that argues health officials should take the approach like what Florida is doing as opposed to the lockdown in California.

“Take actions that are focused on those most affected, not to those least affected by this virus—young teenagers, 25- and 30-year olds,” he said. “Lot of this based on fear of this disease. Now as vaccine comes out there is a new strain that the media is hyping as 10 times more contagious or dangerous. The way it (the virus) survives is self-selecting more contagious strains. It’s not going away and will be in our community for a long time. The question is how much we want to destroy our lifestyle to accommodate the virus.”

He believes it’s time for people to get on with their lives instead of cowering in fear. It’s notable that he hasn’t heard from any elected officials, but he said he’s received lots of support from the public at large.

While he’s no longer in charge of the Muir trauma center, he continues to do shifts there as well as serve his patients in his private surgery practice. He’s been at the trauma center for 20 years and directed it for 13 years. He served in the US Army Reserve before being honorably discharged after tours in the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan.


Democracy.
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Comments

 +   27 people like this
Posted by BobB, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School,
on Jan 7, 2021 at 10:16 am

BobB is a registered user.

The hospital had good reason to eliminate his contract as director of the trauma center. As I said before, DeBoisblanc likes to play fast and loose with the facts, and that is a problem, for someone in his position. Read this article: Web Link "This Doctor Said His Hospital Had Seen "A Year's Worth Of Suicide Attempts" In Four Weeks Because Of The Coronavirus Lockdowns. That Wasn't True." "But in an interview with BuzzFeed News, deBoisblanc said his comment about the hospital seeing "a year's worth of suicide attempts in the last four weeks" was inaccurate. He added that at the time he didn't know what the true numbers were." "Numbers provided by the hospital and the coroner's office also show that the "sharp rise" in suicides initially claimed by deBoisblanc, which alarmed political pundits criticizing quarantine orders, were either overblown or outright false." When DeBoisblanc doesn't know the facts, he just makes some up that sound right to him. He just makes up suicide numbers. Again, this is a real problem. We already to much of this nonsense going around these days on social media. His statements on the new strain of the virus are flat out wrong. I'll repeat -- he is wrong. Infectious disease experts are not saying the new strain is any more dangerous. They are saying it is more infectious. They are also not saying that the current vaccines are any less effective against it. His next sentence, which I will not repeat, also flies in the face of what epidemiologists are saying. Namely, that if we both vaccinate and adhere to public health protocols, we should be able to achieve herd immunity by this fall. This man faced well deserved fallout for speaking out.


 +   16 people like this
Posted by Jennifer, a resident of Danville,
on Jan 7, 2021 at 12:31 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

The lockdowns are having a devastating impact on all of us, but some things are better left unsaid. It doesn't matter if he "did so as a private citizen." He's still a doctor. Speaking out causes fallout all the time, and that's why we're all taught to watch our words.


 +   18 people like this
Posted by PleasantonTaxpayer, a resident of Stoneridge,
on Jan 7, 2021 at 3:14 pm

PleasantonTaxpayer is a registered user.

Jennifer wrote: "The lockdowns are having a devastating impact on all of us, but some things are better left unsaid. It doesn't matter if he "did so as a private citizen." He's still a doctor. Speaking out causes fallout all the time, and that's why we're all taught to watch our words." Huh? I think you're trying to say just remain silent, even if you're right, because you might "cause fallout." (???) I wish more doctors and public officials would speak out about the harm caused by these lockdowns.


 +   21 people like this
Posted by BobB, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Jan 7, 2021 at 4:32 pm

BobB is a registered user.

@PleasantonTaxpayer, He faced fallout not just because he spoke out, but because what he said was wrong (see above).


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Jennifer, a resident of Danville,
on Jan 7, 2021 at 5:10 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

PleasantonTaxpayer, you want all doctors to speak out so they can all lose their jobs? Brilliant. We're all well aware of the harm caused by lockdowns. Most of us AREN"T doctors or public officials that have a position to uphold. You don't get it.


 +   8 people like this
Posted by Willy, a resident of Old Towne,
on Jan 8, 2021 at 9:33 am

Willy is a registered user.

More political BULL! Open the economy NOW! Let's all remember what's going on at the ballot box!


 +   9 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Resident, a resident of Mohr Park,
on Jan 8, 2021 at 11:29 am

Pleasanton Resident is a registered user.

Comparing our health office decisions to Florida, and saying we should follow their lead is totally wrong. Florida never does anything right. As a resident of the Bay Area, I would be very distressed if we ever used anything FL does as a model. My brother and sister-in-law live near Tampa, FL and they are extremely frustrated with residents never wearing masks. He even posted a Twitter message saying he was tired. And for people to put on their masks. I also appreciate the proactive steps all the health officers have made. Otherwise, we might be like LA County.


 +   12 people like this
Posted by Kevin, a resident of Castlewood,
on Jan 8, 2021 at 12:06 pm

Kevin is a registered user.

Tim, here you are again using one person's opinion to justify your Trumpian warped opinion. As BobB posted, this doctor has credibility problems. fine, you interviewed this one doc. How about talking to other frontline healthcare workers to hear their opinions and experience? No, you won't do that because your opinion is already made up. You go to extreme to find discredited people like Scott Atlas (from previous blog) to explain your warped rationale. You are not trying to inform the readers - you are spreading one-sided garbage information.


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Jennifer, a resident of Danville,
on Jan 8, 2021 at 1:14 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

Pleasantontaxpayer, what I was trying to say was watch what you say or you could lose your job. As much as we all hate lockdowns, it's for the protection of our health. Speaking out against protecting your health is ill-advised for certain professions. I understand why the doctors spoke out, but I also understand the fallout decision.


 +   10 people like this
Posted by PToWN94566, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Jan 8, 2021 at 5:11 pm

PToWN94566 is a registered user.

Another ridiculous article. I'll give you all a heads up too about schools- any kind of passage of a law that forces us teachers back in the classroom will be met with extreme pushback. There's already talks of sick-outs should this happen. Hospitals can't even get their vaccinations out to the correct people yet you want to open schools. We keep hearing of office workers getting vaccinated while doctors and nurses are still waiting. Teachers won't be going in the classroom with proper vaccination (fully vaccinated too, not just after one dose) and proper protocols. I'll be curious too as to how many suicides happen because people lost a loved one to covid and couldn't move with their life. We still keep seeing people complain about masks and social distancing- if you can't do that then don't expect us to get back to normalcy any time soon.


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