Dr. Cleavon Gilman worked at a Yuma, Arizona hospital as an emergency-medicine physician where he was well-known. But after making social media posts about the seriousness of the novel coronavirus, the doctor was fired.
“What I don’t understand about this is I have been advocating for Arizona; I have been calling for a mask mandate, the closure of schools, and indoor dining,” Gilman told The Arizona Republic, part of the USA TODAY Network. “I did all of this because we are seeing an unprecedented number of cases. This is my third surge — I know how this ends.”
But the hospital is denouncing the claims. Yuma Regional Medical Center said that the whole thing is a misunderstanding, and Dr. Gilman is on the schedule to work.
“News to me,” the doctor tweeted.
Early last summer, Gilman moved his fiancé and two children from New York to Yuma, to serve “the small community during the pandemic.”
But as of November 23, the doctor has not been back to work all because of his Nov. 22 tweet in which he said, “Just got to work and was notified there are no more ICU beds in the state of Arizona.”
“What happened to the 175 beds??? We likely don’t have nursing to staff them,” he added. The state’s health department also reported that 90% of the ICU units were taken for. The tweet garnered over 81,000 likes and 30,000 retweets.
The next day, he was contacted by the health care staffing company that he was employed by, Envision Healthcare. It was the company who told him the hospital doesn’t want him back.
“They told me it was because of the tweets and I couldn’t believe it because that was accurate information I posted to inform the citizens of Arizona,” he said. “It is a grave injustice and it’s not just happening to me. Doctors everywhere are afraid to speak up.”
Late Thursday night, Yuma Regional Medical Center released a statement on Twitter that read, “While he is not speaking on behalf of YRMC, we respect Dr. Gilman’s right to share his personal perspective on the pandemic.”
“We need good caregivers like Dr. Gilman here,” the statement said.
Gilman’s actions were applauded by President-elect Joe Biden, who said, “I promise you, doc, you are going to have a full-blown partner. You have my word as a Biden.”
The healthcare system released a statement on Gilman, “As a physician on the frontlines, he has continuously advocated for his patients and the health and safety of the Yuma community – a traditionally medically underserved community,” the statement said. “We recognize Dr. Gilman’s depth of experience, perspectives, and voice he lends to those who might not have one due to the inequities in the complex U.S. healthcare system.”