Beware doctors who prioritize ‘sustainability’ over patient welfare – ‘Allowing people to suffer in the name of sustainability’

A recent article in Politico’s “Climatology” section is intensely disturbing, especially when taken to its logical conclusions. While the title on its own, “Can Hospitals Turn into Climate Change Fighting Machines?” might not be alarming at first glance, the content has sinister undertones that seem to be more common from those journalists most concerned with climate change.

It may be a good idea, as the article explains, for hospitals in the American Southwest to have more water-conserving landscaping, or patch up or replace nitrous oxide pipelines. However, I don’t want hospital staff who are devoted to “sustainability” foremost, and patient care second, treating me.

A San Diego hospital “medical director of sustainability” brags about stopping the use of one anesthetic gas, desflurane, because when it escapes into the atmosphere, it stays there for “a decade or more.”

Indeed, the “sustainability” crowd in medicine seems extremely concerned with our use of anesthetic gasses, the American Society of Anesthesiologists say that they are responsible for “0.01-0.10% of the total global carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions contributing to global warming.”

That’s right – 1/100 to 1/10 of one percent of carbon dioxide “equivalent” emissions.

The document I’m citing recommends that hospital staff mitigate this alleged danger, primarily by using less anesthesia, or opting for the use of less effective topical or more dangerous intravenous methods because “they have less of a negative environmental impact.”

A quick Google search of the phrase “reduce anesthesia for climate change” will find you dozens of articles touting the environmental virtues of reducing the flow of anesthesia to patients.

For you patients out there let me remind you, doctors don’t use anesthesia for fun, they do it to reduce pain during medical procedures. These misanthropic M.D.s are advocating nothing more nor less than allowing people to suffer in the name of sustainability. It seems the Hippocratic Oath of “do no harm” is being misapplied, from people, who can feel pain, to the Earth, which is not a living being and thus can’t be harmed by anesthesia use.

Some western doctors, hospitals, and medical schools are also pushing to “decarbonize” the hospital system, because as the Politico writer says:

The health sector is responsible for 8.5 percent of U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide, methane and ozone – an outsized impact compared to the rest of the world. (Globally, health care systems contribute roughly 4.6 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions.) Without huge new efforts, the U.S. will have trouble reaching its ambitious emissions reduction goals.

If these stories sound warm and fuzzy because it’s allegedly responsible, and you don’t get a cold chill, consider this: why does the health sector in the United States make up a larger percentage of our overall emissions, compared to the world as a whole?

It’s because we have the best health care services in the world (regardless of what the socialists say); we dominate in biomedical research, we have the highest cancer survival rate in the world. Currently, if extreme weather hits a city, the hospitals are able to keep working thanks to backup diesel generators. The United States and the western world at large are able to leverage energy use into high quality medical care, which translates to high survival rates of disease and injury, while applying proper care for child birth and other procedures 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Fossil fuels have made that possible. Unless a patient has no other choice, he or she does not want to wind up at a hospital or critical care center that relies solely on wind or solar power for its electric power supply. After all, you want top notch care when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining.

What does the “sustainable” “net zero” option look like?

For that answer, you can look at the countries that have the least access to electricity, and thus have the lowest emissions, like Liberia, which use mostly wood and dung for energy. There are few, if any, modern neonatal intensive care units in those countries.

How far do the Malthusians in our medical system want to go to reach sustainability?

No amount of green roofs, micromanaging time spent washing hands, composting, or forcing vegan food down patients’ throats are going to stop the earth from its very modest warming trend. Nothing will ever stop bad weather from happening, much less giving up reliable energy.

I’m sure that the old bottle of whiskey and a leather strap to bite down on is probably sustainable, except I guess that the leather would have to be vegan, but not made with petroleum byproducts, somehow.

And I suppose that whiskey, made from corn or rye, might be harder to come by because large-scale agriculture isn’t what they call sustainable.

We have protocols in place to limit medical tests on human subjects without their consent. Hospitals should be devoted to healing patients, not experimenting in loony sustainability projects on captive subjects.