The Sarasota County Democratic Party (SCDP) expressed deep concern today over an apparent effort by newly elected members of the Sarasota Memorial Hospital Board to investigate what they regard as “bizarre medical care” by the highly respected public hospital during the COVID pandemic.
Calling themselves the “Health Freedom Slate,” the three new board members — Patricia Maraia, Bridgette Fiorucci, and Victor Rohe – are all skeptics of modern science and best medical practices.
“These freedom-from-science extremists are threatening the integrity and future of our award-winning public hospital,” said JoAnne DeVries, Chair of the Sarasota County Democratic Party. “Their call for an investigation would be an insult to the frontline workers who risked their own health and lives, working long hours to hold off a deadly pandemic. They and Sarasota Memorial Hospital administrators helped minimize the loss of human life while effective vaccines were being developed, and they deserve universal praise and recognition for that – not, as the trio claim, an investigation into ‘bizarre medical care of the hospital COVID protocols.’”
Ultimately, DeVries added, “these culture wars are just a smokescreen aimed at ultimately privatizing Sarasota Memorial Hospital. And we all know what that means: More local residents will not get access to quality care.”
Sarasota Memorial Hospital has a $1.3 billion budget and provides 8,000 well-paying jobs, making it one of the largest employers in Southwest Florida. More importantly, it is designed to give essential services to everyone and does so with quality. U.S. News and World Report has ranked Sarasota Memorial No. 6 in Florida and close to the top tier of hospitals nationwide.
In contrast, nearby Manatee Memorial Hospital — which was privatized nearly three decades ago — is not ranked at all.
The Sarasota County “Moms for America” group has called on its extremist supporters to attend the Nov. 29th meeting of the hospital board and “demand an investigation.” If recent chaos at local School Board meetings is an indicator, all nine board members and hospital administrators will be subject to a barrage of bullying and other disruptive behavior.
To stand in support of frontline workers and healthcare professionals and make sure access to quality care will not be eroded, SCDP calls on all concerned citizens to attend the board meeting this Tuesday, Nov. 29th, 2-4 pm, at the Old Boardroom on the 1st floor of Sarasota Memorial Hospital, 1700 S. Tamiami Trail. Please keep decorum and be respectful. Those wanting to speak during the public comment section must fill out a speaker’s card, to get a five-minute slot. Speakers addressing an issue on the agenda will be heard first.
Recordings of board meetings are posted on the hospital’s YouTube channel, at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLG5ha2qnaFre2rNcXXWpsD0xKj9tVuQhy