Let’s take another run at the question of what makes for good leadership in a time of crisis. I’ll begin with a simple question. If you were to be admitted to the hospital suffering from COVID-19, who would you want to treat you — a pulmonary specialist or the hospital administrator?
The specialist is a doctor who is on the floor all the time, observing patients, reviewing their cases with nurses and technicians, consulting with other doctors working alongside her, and spending her downtime searching for information on treatment of the virus from fellow doctors around the world.
She is “all in” with her patients, wanting none to be lost.
The hospital administrator, on the other hand, may well never have seen the inside of a medical school and has as his concern the reputation of the institution and its financial solvency. He also wants patients to get well but he’ll not be anywhere near them. When he speaks in public he will be wise to make frequent reference to the high quality of care his doctors and staff members provide, and will defer to them for medical advice, for they are the ones to be trusted.
Now, you may see where this is going. Take a moment to think about it. In the case of our nation’s health in this time of pandemic, who would you prefer to listen to regarding the well-being of you, your family and your friends — a qualified doctor or a president who doesn’t know the effects of household bleach injected or ingested into your body?
Hmm. How long did that take?
Give me Dr. Anthony Fauci any day. Dr. Fauci has demonstrated leadership that has informed and inspired healthcare workers, governors, educators and ordinary citizens to do what is necessary to keep this enemy at bay until such time as thoroughly vetted medications and inoculations are available. As the head of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Fauci has managed to give wise counsel in spite of threats and intimidation from our self-proclaimed war-time president. He’s been muzzled but the fact that he hasn’t been fired is a testimony to his effectiveness and the respect he has earned.
This remarkable state of affairs leads me to conclude that one of the most important qualities of a leader is the capacity to listen and learn before speaking and acting. In spite of early warnings from the medical and scientific community, No. 45 would not listen. He denied the seriousness of this war and delayed making decisions that were crucial to the battle against an insidious enemy. Beyond that, he has made extravagant and unsubstantiated claims about medications and treatments that have no support from the medical and scientific community. And his inability or unwillingness to listen has put the nation in jeopardy. We can all be grateful for Dr. Fauci and scores of other leaders who are listening and collaborating in this battle for our lives.
Thomas Reynolds lives in Bridgewater.