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Dr. Gary Davidson

The number of patients in Alberta hospitals was actually going down when Premier Jason Kenney brought in the latest COVID-19 lockdown restrictions last week, claims Dr. Gary Davidson, an emergency doctor in Red Deer.

At an event put on by Mountain View Freedom in central Alberta September 18, Davidson spoke to a gathering of close to 1,000 people.

Alberta Health Services say his claims are wrong.

Just before the lockdown announced on September 15 by Kenney, Davidson said he noticed hospital admittance numbers were on the decline.

He said he texted one of his political friends asking if the province was going to go into another lockdown.

The reason for his inquiry stems from what Davidson had been observing in his and another Alberta hospital: numbers of patients being admitted was trending down.

“As soon as they (admittance numbers) drop they put us in a lockdown so it looks like the lockdown fixed everything and they’ve been doing this every time and I know that because I see the numbers,” he claimed in his speech, which was videotaped and posted online.

Davidson also said he texted a colleague at the University of Alberta hospital to look into admittance numbers and “in three day’s they had been trending down and my last shift, I had zero patients for about three hours.”

“So, the question is: are we in a crisis in our hospitals?” he asked.

According to Davidson, this “health care crisis” didn’t start with COVID-19, and admitted he needed to be careful what he said.

Davidson claimed the problem started six years ago under the Notley government.

Within two years into their mandate, he alleged the government began to cut back nursing positions in his Red Deer emergency department. The shortage in staff was covered by the local newspaper in October 2017, exposing the hospital bed shortages throughout the province and in other provinces.

Because of the staffing shortages at the time, his department was told to redirect patients to other smaller hospitals, he said.

“We’re the intake hospital for the central zone. We can’t do that. We can’t send a heart attack to Lacombe. They send them to us. But this is what we were doing because we had no staff,” he said.  

Davidson claimed his department had 55 beds at the time and at 11:30 p.m. they were forced to close 17 beds because there was not enough money or staff to keep them open. This was what led to long wait times in emergency.

“This has nothing to do with COVID. It’s been going on for six years and it was created. We have a crisis because we have no staff, because our staff quit because they are burnt out. They’re not burnt out from COVID,” he said.

He claimed on Friday night he was working with a senior nurse who’s been working at his hospital for 30 years.

“She quit last night. She was crying,” he said.

Davidson quoted the nurse as saying: “I’m done. One of your colleagues called me a waste of skin because I’m not vaccinated.”

“So, this is someone who worked there for over 18 months unvaccinated, not afraid, front lines and walked out of there last night,” Davidson said.

Davidson also claimed he received a text from a person “who’s in the know” alleging 425 ICU and critical care staff have quit across the province.

“I’ve lost at least 30 in my department, and not because of COVID,” he said.

Davidson said Alberta has 8,000 hospital beds and stated every ICU is able to quickly double capacity when needed. He also said since 2009, the province has 2,500 ventilators but “no one knows where they are.”

When reached for comment by the Western Standard, Alberta Health Services said that Davison’s claims were false.

“AHS is aware of a video circulating on social media involving claims from an Emergency Department physician regarding COVID-19 and hospital capacity,” officials said in a statement.

“The majority of information provided in this video is false. This physician’s opinions do not accurately reflect the COVID-19 pandemic, the AHS pandemic response, or the situation at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.

“In addition, they do a disservice to the incredible work our frontline teams do every day. This individual does not hold a leadership position with AHS,” read the statement.

“It is disappointing that someone would spread misinformation about COVID-19 in this way.”

Ironically, Davidson’s wife, Pamela, is running in the Alberta Senate election under the federal Conservative banner.

Melanie Risdon is a reporter for the Western Standard

Reporter (Alberta)

Melanie Risdon is an Alberta Reporter for the Western Standard and Alberta Report based in the Calgary Headquarters. She has over 20 years’ experience in media at Global News, Rogers and Corus.

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