‘Deciding who will receive access to mechanical ventilation will often determine who lives and who dies…’
(Michael Barnes, Liberty Headlines) Washington Gov. Jay Inslee could have purchased thousands of life-saving breathing ventilators after a 2013 report cited critical shortages, but the liberal Democrat chose other priorities instead—like spending $1.1 billion on orcas.
Now, state residents are at risk of rationed care and hospitals may soon organize “ethics” panels to decide who receives access to the artificial breathing devices, and who dies.
Washington was the first state to see double-digit fatalities from the Wuhan virus when 35 nursing home residents perished earlier this month at the Life Care Center in Kirkland, a Kings County suburb of Seattle.
Washington currently ranks second to New York in the number of coronavirus deaths per state with 130, and with 2,585 reported infections as of Thursday 1 p.m. the ventilator shortage is a massive concern.
But it’s not new.
In 2013, the year Inslee was first elected governor, Seattle and Kings County public health officials issued a report titled “Pandemic Influenza Response Plan.”
The report estimated that a moderate pandemic in Kings County, the state’s most populous county, would cause nearly 65,000 hospital patients and require roughly 400 ventilators. A worst-case scenario would involve more than 740,000 patients and 4,500 ventilators.
What’s more, Inslee knew coming into office that the state’s lack of ventilators would be catastrophe during a severe respiratory disease outbreak like the coronavirus.
A 2011 report in the journal Health Care Analysis stated, “In a severe influenza pandemic, hospitals will likely experience serious and widespread shortages of patient pulmonary ventilators and of staff qualified to operate them.”
“Deciding who will receive access to mechanical ventilation will often determine who lives and who dies,” the report continued.
But Inslee did not invest in ventilators during his seven years as the state government’s chief executive, instead he pushed for billions of taxpayer dollars for climate change-related projects, among other progressive items.
In 2018, Inslee led the charge for $1.1 billion to support orcas, commonly known as killer whales. He launched an orca task force, called for increased taxes, and issued a partial ban on whale watching. He also included a number of new climate change initiatives in his proposed budget that would be paid from a 20 percent total budget increase.
Intensive care ventilators, however, did not make the cut. They cost around $16,000.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has similarly failed to secure ventilators after being informed of a critical shortage in 2015. Cuomo, like Inslee, opted instead to prioritize countless billions of taxpayer-funded projects to appease his Democratic supporters.
Inslee has built his political career around environmentalism and climate change. He ran for president in the current election cycle as a single-issue climate change candidate, but he dropped out in August 2019 after only five months in the Democratic primary race.
Inslee notably called President Donald Trump a “white nationalist” during a second-tier debate.
Unfortunately, ignoring repeated warnings about the lack of life-saving devices has put Kings County and Washington state residents in a terrifying position. More terrifying is the rank incompetence of Inslee’s administration
“We do not know how many ventilators are in the state,” Danielle Koenig, a spokeswoman for the Washington State Department of Health, told the Tacoma News Tribune.