George Pyle: Utah politicians and radio jabberers should pull a shift at Primary Children’s before spouting any more anti-vax propaganda

Elected officials such as Stuart Adams and Chris Stewart are threatening the lives of their own constituents.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Primary Children’s Hospital caregiver Dr. Jill Sweney, medical director of the pediatric ICU, shares some sad stories about her experience treating kids with COVID as she steps outside the hospital for a brief moment on Monday, Oct. 11, 2021.

When I took a summer driver education course in high school, the syllabus included several Saturdays in a row watching gory movies.

Some of those films featured actors pretending to drive stupidly, die horribly and come back as ghosts, warning us, Jacob Marley-like, not to make the same mistakes they had.

Other films involved no playacting. They featured grainy footage of real auto accidents, police cars and ambulances, blood on the highway, blood on faces, blood on the stretcher and blood in the emergency room.

Sometimes you saw actual crushed bodies or what the stump left over from a lower-leg amputation looks like. I remember a detailed description of “phantom pain,” a nerve impulse telling you there is a pain in, for example, your foot, when actually your foot isn’t there anymore.

We were allowed to avert our eyes from these scared straight films. We just had to sign the sheet to prove we’d been there.

Now the Utah Health Department and the state’s big hospital groups are running public service announcements on TV and YouTube showing, for example, what it is like for a heart attack patient, and his panicked wife, to be turned away from a hospital because its ICU beds are full of (mostly unvaccinated) COVID-19 patients.

These mini-dramas are not enough. Now anybody seeking a license to be exempt from a COVID-19 vaccination should have to sit through an uncensored video presentation of a real coronavirus ward, gasping children, adults sedated and ventilated, family members who have to say goodbye to Grandma on FaceTime while a nurse in a hazmat suit holds her hand.

The truth of COVID-19 has been outlined in some detail, most recently in a powerful article in Sunday’s Salt Lake Tribune.

‘It’s real’: Utah doctors talk about treating kids sick and dying from COVID-19 — Courtney Tanner | The Salt Lake Tribune

Dr. [Jill] Sweney did everything she could think of to save a girl in her care whose body was wrecked by the virus. She was in the room, holding her hand when the girl stopped breathing.

“She didn’t survive,” Sweney said. “I wanted her to so badly. But she just didn’t.”

The doctor remembers crawling into her car afterward to go home. She flicked through radio stations to distract herself. She landed on a talk show. The hosts were saying that COVID-19 wasn’t real.

“They said kids don’t get as sick from it,” Sweney said. “They said this is what doctors sign up for.”

She pulled over and sobbed behind her steering wheel.

And for politicians who are claiming to support our personal freedoms by opposing workplace vaccination mandates — people such as Utah Senate President Stuart Adams, U.S. Sen. Mike Lee and U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart — a video won’t be enough. They’ve already proved they aren’t looking.

Adams is banging the drum for state action to block President Joe Biden’s OSHA directive that vaccines are a basic workplace safety requirement. Stewart and Lee are supporting a cockamamie bill called the Natural Immunity is Real Act, another attempt by politicians to tell doctors how to practice medicine by claiming that having contracted COVID-19 and recovered is as much protection as an mRNA vaccine. Which doctors say it isn’t.

We lost another 21 Utahns to coronavirus over the weekend. Fifteen of them were between the ages of 25 to 64.

We’ve reached the point that any public official, radio host or Facebook jockey who wants to spread misinformation and lies about the pandemic should have to spend a shift shadowing doctors and nurses at Primary Children’s Hospital before they say another word.

George Pyle, reading The New York Times at The Rose Establishment.

George Pyle, opinion editor of The Salt Lake Tribune, was the guy showing up at the ER clutching his chest more than two years ago. Except there were plenty of ICU beds. And, as it turned out, he wasn’t having a heart attack.


Twitter, @debatestate