Physicians, public health leaders issue plea to community as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to surge in Southwest Michigan

COVID-19 News Conference at WMed
Aaron Lane Davies, MD, chief of Quality for Bronson Medical Group and a pediatric hospitalist at Bronson Children’s Hospital, speaks during the news conference on Tuesday, December 7.

Medical leaders from Ascension Borgess, Bronson Healthcare, and Oaklawn Hospital joined public health officials on Tuesday, December 7, to issue a plea for help from the communities they serve as the continuing rise in COVID-19 cases and deaths in the region has stretched local health care resources to a critical point.

The message from the group, which included William Nettleton, MD, MPH, assistant professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at WMed, was delivered during a news conference that was at the W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus.

"What our community is experiencing right now is preventable suffering," said Dr. Nettleton, who also serves as medical director for the Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department and Calhoun County Public Health Department.

The group of community doctors who joined Dr. Nettleton at the news conference included:

  • Thomas Rohs, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Ascension Borgess
  • Scott Gibson, MD, System Medical Director, Bronson Healthcare Emergency Departments
  • Aaron Lane Davies, MD, Chief of Quality, Bronson Medical Group and Pediatric Hospitalist, Bronson Children’s Hospital
  • Summer Liston-Crandall, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Oaklawn Hospital

The physicians shared personal stories from the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis and discussed how the all-time high number of cases and hospitalizations in Michigan and locally has impacted how health care is being delivered as local healthcare systems operate in a state of crisis. Additionally, they implored community members to wear masks and get vaccinated to help slow the spread of COVID-19, ease the ongoing strain on physicians, nurses and other healthcare workers, and ensure patients in need of medical help get the timely care they deserve.

Following the news conference, the physicians recorded a public service announcement seeking help from community members.