Activists renew a call to investigate Sarasota Memorial Hospital's COVID-19 procedures
But the hospital board chairman believes there are not enough votes on the board to force an independent investigation.
Activists filled the board room at Sarasota Memorial Hospital on Monday in an effort to change the hospital’s policies in response to the pandemic.
But their calls for an independent investigation will likely be denied.
The calls come after the hospital released a three-year review in February of how it did during the pandemic. The report said the hospital’s COVID-19 death rate was 24% lower than national benchmarks.
Still, many of the people in the audience assailed hospital officials for supposedly stifling doctors from providing alternative treatments such as ivermectin. Many also didn't like the hospital following federal pandemic guidelines.
But after the meeting, board chairman Tramm Hudson said he doesn't believe there's enough interest by the members to start another investigation.
"This has certainly been something of interest to the community, and I think that as an elected body, we need to listen to the citizens," Hudson said. "And as I've said many times, we will stay here as late as it takes, because they do make some good points. And I think that it's positive that we receive that."
Retired physician Stephen Guffanti was among those promoting a "medical freedom" agenda. He shared a room in the hospital's emergency room with a fellow COVID-19 patient. Guffanti said he was put into solitary confinement by hospital staff after speaking on behalf of the other patient.
He echoed calls for a third-party investigation, saying it "wasn't political, but life and death."
"The COVID-19 response report said the hospital protocol told the doctors what drugs to use," Guffanti said. "Yet, the doctors denied they were told what to do. Who do you believe? Either way, you've lost the community's trust."
Board members said there had been death threats against doctors and hospital staff since the report was released, but the abusive messages have since tapered off.