Thank you, ERJ, for the inspiration for another blog post. One of your commenters to your post about the fiscal consequences of “kicking the (payroll and benefits) can down the road”, and the implications of same for actually MAINTAINING a given level of government/police/fire/EMS services, presented the following:
“I suspect another reason for services eroding is lack of employees. I know that many police departments have openings for lack of qualified candidates, as do many county agencies. Whether their qualification requirements are reasonable is another question. I know that some places intentionally understaff so that existing staff can easily justify overtime, occasionally to a ridiculous degree.”
This ties in, very neatly, to a conversation I had with The Darling Daughter the other weekend. She was talking to somebody with whom she works, this somebody being involved in some manner with providing EMS services. This Somebody (hereinafter referred to as “TS”) was sharing with her the difficulty of obtaining personnel to staff ambulances, in the numbers required to provide ambulances, 24/7/365/surge capacity in the event if BFD emergency.
The Darling Daughter (to be referenced as “TDD”) pointed out that she spent her childhood in the household of a medic, and noted to her correspondent that “You DO know, that McDonalds is paying more than you are, right?”
That elicited an observation about insurance company reimbursement for ambulance transport (TL:DR: meager), and the difficulties that provides in paying personnel more.
TDD noted that for mothers who might contemplate a career Fighting Disease, And Saving Lives, child care, and in particular child care after 5 pm, is AN ISSUE.
Her correspondent, TS, was reported to have metaphorically waved his hands, responding “I KNEW you were going to bring up child care!”
I agreed with TDD, noting that should a crew pick up a transfer to, say Ann Arbor at something like 3 pm, (the drive alone is on the order of 90 minutes, one way, from, oh, let’s pick a town at random: Eaton Rapids, and Sparrow Eaton Hospital. Not mentioned is unload time, as well as the drive back, restocking the rig, and tootling home.), then Our Heroine is looking at being, maybe, in the parking lot of University of Michigan Medical Center, heading home if she is fortunate, just about the time that her day care provider is beginning to blow up her phone with warnings of five-dollar-a-MINUTE late charges for EACH of her children, now that she is late.
At a pay that compares, sort of, with minimum wage.
So, hell YEAH, child care is an issue.
She (TDD) then noted to TS, that there does not appear to be any sort of career ladder for EMS. So far as she knew, it went something like
Basic EMT–>Paramedic–>Do Something Else.
She relates that this sort of issue might adversely affect retention. Which will, as a readily foreseeable follow on effect, “thin the herd” of individuals entering that pipeline. Leading to just this conversation.
So, once upon a time, my bad example led TDW-Mark II (The Darling Wife-Mark Two) to obtain her own concealed pistol license. She spent some time at the range with me, and eventually decided that she would carry a Springfield Armory XD pistol in 9 millimeter.
As these stories of mine develop, she was driving about our little town, and one observant police officer noted that she had a brake light out. He pulled her over to explain to her his observation.
Being a good doobie, she announced as part of her opening conversational gambit, “I am a CPL holder, and I have it here in my purse on the floor of the passenger side of the car!”
He acknowledged this tidbit, and invited her to carefully produce her license, registration, and CPL license itself.
She did so, and the officer walked back to his vehicle to run her plates and license.
He returned, and returned her cards to her. “So,” he asked, “What made you select the XD for your carry gun? My wife just took her CPL class, and is considering her own choice of pistol.”
TDW recounted her experience with my array of pistols, finding them overly large for her hands (Glock, Browning High Power), or not enough ammunition in the magazine for her preference (Revolver, Colt Government Model). “When I picked up the XD in the gunshop, it felt just right in my hand, and when I shot it, I did pretty good with it!”
They soon concluded their conversation, and she returned home, excited about her contact. “We simply had a nice conversation about concealed carry, and women’s choices in pistols, and why this or that pistol might be more or less suitable. It was kind of nice!”
Entry number 4,385 in my Catalog Of Why I Love Small Towns.
A long, long time ago, in a county very far away, I was an ER nurse working nights. Indeed, this was so very long ago, that The Plaintiff had not, yet, become The Plaintiff.
It so happened that one Halloween I found myself working. At that time, in that county, we had a dispatch radio in the nurses’ station. After all, in a small hospital, in a very rural county, if you have advance notice of ill tidings, well, sometimes you can gather your selves, and more effectively address the particular ill tidings that are brought to your door.
My shift started at 1900 hours, and day shift had hardly departed when the tones went off dispatching the firefighters, rescue, and sheriff’s department from a couple of townships over. The nature of the call chilled my blood: child pedestrian, pedestrian vs auto on one of the local two lane state highways.
In rural The Un Named Flyover State, traffic on our state highways commonly travels at around 60 mph. Now, KE=1/2 MV2. That means that a, oh, say, 3000 pound vehicle at 60 mph runs around 361,040 foot pounds of energy. (By comparison, a 30-06 bullet runs around 3,133 foot pounds, and will kill any large game animal on the North American continent). When this strikes a, say, 80 pound child who abruptly darts out from between parked cars, well, it is catastrophic.
And, it was, indeed, catastrophic. Responding to the call, mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts, sons, daughters: the entirety of the emergency response apparatus in that corner of our county: hell, from couple of surrounding counties, as well: responded, praying, hoping, that somehow they could mitigate this disaster.
It seemed as though the medics spent seconds on the scene. It likely seemed like hours to the horrified family. One second, this child was running along, gleeful and excited at Halloween, eagerly anticipating All! The Candy! that would soon be spread out on the living room floor, and a second later, he was unconscious, broken, in the road.
The county and State Police ran interference, shutting down the expressway to speed the ambulance along it’s way. Our local city cops closed the cross streets, and the medics screamed into our parking lot, where we waited, alerted by the phone call from dispatch.
There were an amazing number of personnel in and about our ER that night. Every floor in the hospital detailed someone to either help, or stand by to see how they could help. The lab was there, cardiopulmonary, and that is not to mention the firefighters from our town, and our cops, in the parking lot, waiting to see if they, too, could help.
The ER doc was not about to half step, and employed every tool at his disposal. But, sometimes Death wins, and we can do nothing to forestall His victory.
We nurses cleaned the child up as best we could, tucking him in with clean linens, and a clean fresh gown. We tried our best to make him appear simply asleep.
The family came into the resuscitation room, and wailed their grief. In that setting, there is really nothing that you can do, nothing of any substance. We stood by, silent witnesses to their heartbreak.
Eventually, they had wept themselves dry. Neighbors assisted the parents from the room, to drive them back home. Later, they would have to plan his funeral, put away his toys, clothing, and things, and come to terms with the forever loss of their little boy.
Halloween would never ever be the same for that family.
A couple of hours later, TDW-Mark I (subsequently The Plaintiff) stopped by. She had taken our two kids then aged 6 and 3, Trick-or-Treating, and they were so darned cute, it finished me. I swept them up into a hug, and likely puzzled them by weeping. Truth be told, I suspect that TDW was surprised, herself. Until one of my partners told her the story of earlier in the night.
So, TINS, TIWFDASL at an urgent care out in Flyover Country. It was a typical afternoon, featuring a parade of sniffles, coughs, and poison ivy. Our clinic was on the south side of the road, east of Middling Sized City, and the Big Time Big Deal Hospital And Trauma Center. In other words, to get the the BTBDHATC, one would exit our driveway, and turn west (that is, LEFT!)
Abruptly, the registrar summoned me. My MA and I walked over, to behold a limp toddler. Very Not Good!
The MA escorted the male carrying the child to an exam room, and began to collect vitals. I examined the child, discovering a heartbeat (Crom be Praised!) and spontaneous respirations. The registrar collected demographic information, and I asked the adult what had happened, prior to arrival.
“Well, he started shaking, and then he stopped. He just wouldn’t wake up, so I brought him here.”
Well, the “wouldn’t wake up” part was still descriptive of the child, and I noted that I would have to call an ambulance immediately, because this could have several causes, none of them good. Indeed, “floppy child” is right up there in my Triage Catalogue Of Very Bad Things.
The adult male paused at this. “I don’t want to send him by ambulance. I’ll take him myself!”
I was surprised. I noted, “So, you *DO* realize that several of the things that caused this, could reappear, and he could stop breathing or his heart could stop. EMS is trained and equipped to deal with those things, should they occur. You, while driving, are not, right?”
He persisted. “I’ll drive him myself”.
We directed him to go there immediately, with no delay nor detour. We explicitly directed him to exit our driveway, TURN FREAKING LEFT (that is, west), and not stop until at the ED.
He stated that he understood, and would do so.
He scooped the child up, and exited the building. I sat down to chart, as well as call BTBDHATC, in order to provide them with forewarning of the sick, sick, sick child coming their way. That is, until my registrar called me, excitedly, to report that this sunovabitch had turned EAST! (exactly away from the hospital) upon exiting our driveway.
I had the clerk print a face sheet, and called emergency dispatch. I related the above information to dispatch, along with my concern that a critically ill child was *NOT* being taken to the ED. I provided the street address we had received, as well as the contact information.
I next called the child protective services emergency number, to report the above. I was assigned a report number, which I charted, and my own name and contact information was taken.
Several hours later I received a telephone call, from a gentleman asserting he was from CPS. I asked him to confirm the report number, the child’s date of birth, name and address of our record. He did confirm all these details.
He queried me about the particulars of the child’s presentation. I supplied the requested information. I asked how the child was. The worker paused, and said, “Well, I am not allowed to provide information regarding an ongoing investigation, particularly one where the child in question has been hospitalized. I’m sorry. “
My response? “Yeah, it’s too bad you couldn’t tell me if the child had been hospitalized or anything. I understand. Thank you.”
Once upon a time, Da City was “The Arsenal of Democracy”, heavily industrialized, and a place where a reasonably hard working high school graduate could graduate, and, within a year, have a solidly middle class lifestyle working in a factory. One auto company had established an industrial complex just outside Da City, and on an island in this complex, had established forges, stamping plants, and coking ovens. Even across the river, the smell had to be experienced to be believed.
I worked with one guy, back on EMS, who had worked, pre-fire department, for one of the private ambulance services. They had caught a run for some emergency or another on this island, and, this being the days of 24 hour shifts, my friend fell asleep, letting his partner, who was driving, take care of things.
He related, “I was awakened when the ambulance stopped. I looked out, at the gas flaring off, and the chemical smell of sulfur heavy in the air. The area aroiund us looked like a hellish war torn moonscape, and I thought, “Oh my f@@king Ghawd! He’s wrecked the ambulance, I’ve died, and this is Hell!”
Another story, from a slightly later time, had me working with Doug and Rob, at a house in the far western area of Da City. We were dispatched to an assault, and met the cops on the scene. Upon entering the house, a gentleman (looking to be something like 6 feet and some change tall, probably running probably 220 pounds) reported that the woman of the house, who, herself, looked to be like 5 feet 2 inches, maybe 120 pounds, had assaulted him, striking him with her fists. He reported that he needed to be “checked out” due to his (non evident) injuries. She interjected that she had not assaulted him, he had, rather, assaulted her (and inflicting no perceptible injury in that process). He responded, loudly, and it was on. The Great West Side Debating Society Quarterly Meeting began.
While “the adults” were yelling etc, I noticed, in corner of the next room a perhaps 5-7 yo little girl, crouched in corner, mouth open, fists clenched as in a silent scream. While cops refereed “the adults”, I crouched down in front of child, attempting to verbally soothe her. One female officer noticed, and came over. I introduced the officer to the child, “This is my friend, Officer Evans. She would like to talk to you for a while. Is that OK? She, and the rest of her friends will keep you safe.”
We disengaged, everybody signed no transport forms, we went in service. As Rob finished the trip sheets, he paused, and commented, “You know, I think we may have just witnessed a watershed moment in that little girl’s life.”
In our county, emergency personnel are generally volunteers. The EMS is paid/full time, Sheriff and local PD are paid/full time, but the firefighters and rescue are volunteers, dispatched by pager. The tones dropped for a cardiac arrest, CPR in progress, in the outskirts of the county. Now my county is rural, primarily (by surface area) farmland. The ambulance was called out, as well as the County Seat Fire Department (Hereinafter, CSFD).
I heard EMS acknowledge, and the duty fire chief as well. He (the chief) directed that the firefighters respond without him, as he was a couple of miles from the scene and would respond directly.
Dispatch then filled in the dispatch information, beyond the address. A 70-something male had collapsed. CPR was in progress. He was vomiting, and the family was clearing his mouth as best they could. A couple of minutes later (likely that seemed like days, to the folks on the scene, performing CPR on one of their family!), the fire chief called out on the scene “Chief on scene with one firefighter. Sheriff on scene. Dispatch, roll one engine for manpower.”
So, let’s “dolly back”, and consider this. With the possible exception of the deputy (who might have responded, off duty, from home in his patrol car), all these folks were snug in their own homes, fat, dumb and happy, savoring the anniversary of The Birth of Our Saviour, as well as immersing themselves in the excitement of the children at All! The! Presents! they had received.
They carry pagers because, well, that’s what they do. More likely than not, they do not see themselves as heroic, or making sacrifices, because, after all, in most of America (hell, I suspect in most of the world), the men and women performing these jobs simply see themselves as doing what needs to be done, because they are able to do so.
And therefore, when the pager alerted them, they grabbed their coats, put on their boots, and left their warm and happy homes, heading to somebody else’s home, someplace where, as Chief Dennis Compton of Mesa, AZ Fire once described it, “We are responding to somebody’s worst day of their life”.
So, as I imagine it, the duty chief was enjoying a Christmas with his family, the tones dropped, and off he went. Before he could get out of the door, one of his sons, or maybe a son in law, (or daughter or daughter in law, here in the 21st century) said something like, “Hey, Dad! Hold up a second! I’m taking that call with you!”
These folks voluntarily immersed themselves in another family’s tragedy. Strove to hold the line, to reverse the evident course. Went to work on Christmas.
When the firefighter came on the radio requesting the sheriff department’s (volunteer!) Victim Support Team, I could call that play. I do not know if I teared up at the family’s terror, at their loss, at the fact that forever more Christmas would not hold happy childhood memories, but, rather, would be “the day grandpa died”, or if I teared up thinking of the folks who, simply “doing their jobs”, had left their warm homes in response to some stranger’s plea for help.
But, I wept.
Please, give a thought to those who respond to those calls, today and every day of the year, all over the world.
And offer a prayer on behalf of those they go to rescue.
Against my will, I have been aware of the news reports of many, many protests over the circumstances surrounding death of George Floyd.
Against my will, I have been subjected to the noxious virtue signaling malarkey from many quarters, braying about how anti racist they are (“acta, non verba!”).
Again, against my will, I have been subjected to the chant of racist, violent police being The! Single! Greatest! Threat! to black men, In! Da! World! (notwithstanding the 24 fatal shootings in Chicago just the weekend of May 30-31)
( see https://chicago.suntimes.com/2020/6/1/21275944/chicago-weekend-shootings-most-violent-weekend-2020-may-29-june-1)
I request that we all keep in mind that we are all fallen, all imperfect, all in need of improvement. Police are part of that set. And, like some of our neighbors, some officers do felonious things. Mr. Chauvin appears due to get his day in court, which, should things work out as they are supposed to, will bring to light evidence supporting, or refuting, the cloud of assertions surrounding these events.
Tl: DR summary: Lotsa heat, little light, Facts will come out, and theories and bullshit will be tamped down.
Now, that I have stepped off of my soapbox, let’s hear a story of “Protect And Serve Policing”, of the sort that I have seen repeatedly myself.
Observant readers will note that this is a re-run.
Patient Care Is Everywhere! (small town life)I had the opportunity, a couple of years ago, to speak with an police officer who personified the
“Protect and Serve” mindset. An elderly, very confused gentleman, with a baseline mentation
deficit, was brought in to the hospital at the instigation of the officer. Having been dispatched
for a "welfare check", he found this soul confused, and in the officer's estimation, "looked sick."
We evaluated the patient, and tried to (start to) fix his medical issues. While waiting for the lab
results, the officer and I chatted. The officer related to me that he was an officer, “not for the
attorney with a 150,000 dollar car and a nice house: he doesn’t need me. That guy, over there:
he depends on me to do the right thing. He is why I took that oath.” Once we had finished caring for the gentleman, and were ready to discharge him, another
officer from this same (yeah, rural) department came and took him home, seeing him safely
into his apartment.Another occasion, same rural police department, same officer. This time he accompanied an
EMS transport. This soul was in custody, so the officer parked himself outside the room, to
keep an eye on his charge. During their stay, in the room across the hallway, was a child, who
was very dubious about the entire "going to the hospital" thing. This officer was approached by
the fearful child, who momentarily had his fears overcome with curiosity about a live-and-in-
person police officer. This officer was very engaged with the child, producing wide eyes
interest as the boy lectured the officer on the ins and outs of frogs, and minutiae of their lives in
the wild. He (the officer) offered a few frog insights of his own, and the two of them had an
animated conversation there in my ED hallway. The rest of my encounter with the boy was made considerably smoother, when the officer
asked the boy, "Are you behaving for my friend Reltney? Yeah, he may be a doctor (well, a PA
at this point, but, ya know...), but he's pretty nice. Give him a chance, wontcha?"My point? There has been come conversation of “Officer as social worker” becoming part of the
police toolbox. This theme is not new, although it used to be called "walking the beat, and
knowing your beat". Some officers, who are each a credit to their profession, have been
employing that tool for a long time. And, in some regards, to steal a phrase from the American
Nurses' Association, "Patient Care is Everywhere!" Some of the practitioners are not formally
licensed in health professions. And, some of us simply see it as being a good neighbor.
While my blog is commonly about lighthearted things, irritants, and such like fluff, occasionally I have to pause, and honor better folks than I. This post, which I placed last year, is here again. Haerter and Yale are emblematic of those who go in harm’s way, on behalf of their buddies, on behalf of people that they will never know.
Those MEN (and, nowadays, WOMEN) need to hold a place in our hearts.
This is Memorial Day 2020. This the day set aside, to contemplate, to remember, those who have stood in harm’s way, have said to Evil, “you shall not pass!”, and have died so doing.
Today we recall those immortalized in Francis Scott Keyes’ fourth stanza, opening,
“Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!”
Then, read the story. Lifted directly from Business Insider. This–THIS–is how MEN face DUTY. I pray that, should the need arise, I can be worthy to stand in their presence. Corporal Jonathan Yale, Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter. This is what we remember, on Memorial Day.
via Marines Magazine
Five years ago, two Marines from two different walks of life who had literally just met were told to stand guard in front of their outpost’s entry control point.
I had heard the story many times, personally. But until today I had never heard Marine Lt. Gen. John Kelly’s telling of it to a packed house in 2010. Just four days following the death of his own son in combat, Kelly eulogized two other sons in an unforgettable manner.
Two years ago when I was the Commander of all U.S. and Iraqi forces, in fact, the 22nd of April 2008, two Marine infantry battalions, 1/9 “The Walking Dead,” and 2/8 were switching out in Ramadi. One battalion in the closing days of their deployment going home very soon, the other just starting its seven-month combat tour.
Two Marines, Corporal Jonathan Yale and Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter, 22 and 20 years old respectively, one from each battalion, were assuming the watch together at the entrance gate of an outpost that contained a makeshift barracks housing 50 Marines.
The same broken down ramshackle building was also home to 100 Iraqi police, also my men and our allies in the fight against the terrorists in Ramadi, a city until recently the most dangerous city on earth and owned by Al Qaeda. Yale was a dirt poor mixed-race kid from Virginia with a wife and daughter, and a mother and sister who lived with him and he supported as well. He did this on a yearly salary of less than $23,000. Haerter, on the other hand, was a middle class white kid from Long Island.
They were from two completely different worlds. Had they not joined the Marines they would never have met each other, or understood that multiple America’s exist simultaneously depending on one’s race, education level, economic status, and where you might have been born. But they were Marines, combat Marines, forged in the same crucible of Marine training, and because of this bond they were brothers as close, or closer, than if they were born of the same woman.
The mission orders they received from the sergeant squad leader I am sure went something like: “Okay you two clowns, stand this post and let no unauthorized personnel or vehicles pass.” “You clear?” I am also sure Yale and Haerter then rolled their eyes and said in unison something like: “Yes Sergeant,” with just enough attitude that made the point without saying the words, “No kidding sweetheart, we know what we’re doing.” They then relieved two other Marines on watch and took up their post at the entry control point of Joint Security Station Nasser, in the Sophia section of Ramadi, al Anbar, Iraq.
A few minutes later a large blue truck turned down the alley way—perhaps 60-70 yards in length—and sped its way through the serpentine of concrete jersey walls. The truck stopped just short of where the two were posted and detonated, killing them both catastrophically. Twenty-four brick masonry houses were damaged or destroyed. A mosque 100 yards away collapsed. The truck’s engine came to rest two hundred yards away knocking most of a house down before it stopped.
Our explosive experts reckoned the blast was made of 2,000 pounds of explosives. Two died, and because these two young infantrymen didn’t have it in their DNA to run from danger, they saved 150 of their Iraqi and American brothers-in-arms.
When I read the situation report about the incident a few hours after it happened I called the regimental commander for details as something about this struck me as different. Marines dying or being seriously wounded is commonplace in combat. We expect Marines regardless of rank or MOS to stand their ground and do their duty, and even die in the process, if that is what the mission takes. But this just seemed different.
The regimental commander had just returned from the site and he agreed, but reported that there were no American witnesses to the event—just Iraqi police. I figured if there was any chance of finding out what actually happened and then to decorate the two Marines to acknowledge their bravery, I’d have to do it as a combat award that requires two eye-witnesses and we figured the bureaucrats back in Washington would never buy Iraqi statements. If it had any chance at all, it had to come under the signature of a general officer.
I traveled to Ramadi the next day and spoke individually to a half-dozen Iraqi police all of whom told the same story. The blue truck turned down into the alley and immediately sped up as it made its way through the serpentine. They all said, “We knew immediately what was going on as soon as the two Marines began firing.” The Iraqi police then related that some of them also fired, and then to a man, ran for safety just prior to the explosion.
All survived. Many were injured … some seriously. One of the Iraqis elaborated and with tears welling up said, “They’d run like any normal man would to save his life.”
What he didn’t know until then, he said, and what he learned that very instant, was that Marines are not normal. Choking past the emotion he said, “Sir, in the name of God no sane man would have stood there and done what they did.”
“No sane man.”
“They saved us all.”
What we didn’t know at the time, and only learned a couple of days later after I wrote a summary and submitted both Yale and Haerter for posthumous Navy Crosses, was that one of our security cameras, damaged initially in the blast, recorded some of the suicide attack. It happened exactly as the Iraqis had described it. It took exactly six seconds from when the truck entered the alley until it detonated.
You can watch the last six seconds of their young lives. Putting myself in their heads I supposed it took about a second for the two Marines to separately come to the same conclusion about what was going on once the truck came into their view at the far end of the alley. Exactly no time to talk it over, or call the sergeant to ask what they should do. Only enough time to take half an instant and think about what the sergeant told them to do only a few minutes before: ” … let no unauthorized personnel or vehicles pass.”
The two Marines had about five seconds left to live. It took maybe another two seconds for them to present their weapons, take aim, and open up. By this time the truck was half-way through the barriers and gaining speed the whole time. Here, the recording shows a number of Iraqi police, some of whom had fired their AKs, now scattering like the normal and rational men they were—some running right past the Marines. They had three seconds left to live.
For about two seconds more, the recording shows the Marines’ weapons firing non-stop…the truck’s windshield exploding into shards of glass as their rounds take it apart and tore in to the body of the son-of-a-bitch who is trying to get past them to kill their brothers—American and Iraqi—bedded down in the barracks totally unaware of the fact that their lives at that moment depended entirely on two Marines standing their ground. If they had been aware, they would have know they were safe … because two Marines stood between them and a crazed suicide bomber.
The recording shows the truck careening to a stop immediately in front of the two Marines. In all of the instantaneous violence Yale and Haerter never hesitated. By all reports and by the recording, they never stepped back. They never even started to step aside. They never even shifted their weight. With their feet spread shoulder width apart, they leaned into the danger, firing as fast as they could work their weapons. They had only one second left to live.
The truck explodes. The camera goes blank. Two young men go to their God.
Not enough time to think about their families, their country, their flag, or about their lives or their deaths, but more than enough time for two very brave young men to do their duty … into eternity. That is the kind of people who are on watch all over the world tonight—for you.
The number of projected deaths, when all is done, is not THE PROBLEM. At north of a million people (that’s one million, or more fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, grandfathers and grandmothers. And aunts, uncles and husbands and wives.), that is certainly bad enough. Particularly if someone you love is enumerated in that group. Life changing. Reality altering. Leaves a hole in your heart, your life, that you cannot imagine, unless you have lived through it.
BUT! THAT is not THE PROBLEM. THE PROBLEM, is the follow on effects, as a tsunami of ill inundates our already (on a good day) marginal health “system”, that it is in no way prepared for.
“Just in time” inventory systems will not bite us in the ass. Nope, not at all. Rather, the shortfalls and absent supplies will make us yearn for simply being bitten in the ass. Indeed, the “bite us in the ass” problem will more closely resemble the “bite in the ass” one might receive from a hungry great white shark, or, maybe, a ravenous tiger.
Ragarding the magnitude of THE PROBLEM, you need honest numbers, and then you NEED TO UNDERSTAND THOSE NUMBERS! See Lawdog’s blog, here , for an explanation of testing error (false positives/negatives, and the implications thereof).
See Aesop’s articles, here, for his description of the second order effects, and how it will make a clusterf…er, HUG! look like a picnic with your Bible study group. I do not know about timing, but, based on 30 + years as an ER nurse, and a dozen as a PA, and several as a medic, well, his assessment of effects is certainly defensible. I pray he is wrong, but I do NOT believe that he is wrong. (While you are there, read his other posts, about the follow on effects, about how this has been mishandled since, oh, 20 or more years ago, and about missed opportunities).
(and, READ HIS COUNSEL [in other posts] ABOUT PREPAREDNESS, BOTH LOGISTIC AND TRAINING! AND TAKE IT TO HEART!)
Good fortune to you all, and WASH YOUR DAMNED HANDS! NOW, DO IT AGAIN! AND AGAIN!