VIJAY JAYARAJ: Climate policy should not be used to determine limits on hospital emissions

The turbulence that caused a Singapore Airlines flight to drop 6,000 feet in minutes was blamed on climate change by a hysterical media. Having killed a passenger and injured more than 70 others, the incident was one of the worst of its kind and indeed tragic. However, the connection to supposed man-made changes to the atmosphere is the fearmongering of opportunistic doomsayers.

This irresponsible promotion of an absurd climate scare is more dangerous than falling airplanes because it affects the future of billions of people and is itself a threat to those lives. The global effort to limit the emission of greenhouse gases by restricting the use of fossil fuels causes people to pay more to power their homes and businesses and leads to rising commodity prices. Now, the climate obsession has managed to infiltrate even medical facilities.

To reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, hospitals in Europe and North America are implementing (or considering) measures that will alter or complicate operating room practices—and endanger patients. The truth is, right now, barbaric climate policies are medical practice.

A delicate dance between life and death takes place in operating rooms. Decisions and actions are meticulously calibrated to ensure the best possible outcome. Introducing unnecessary distractions or disruptions in this environment can have dire consequences.

Restrictions designed to limit use and emission of gases with global warming potential in operating rooms often involve monitoring systems that trigger alarms when gas levels exceed a threshold predetermined by hospital administrators. These alarms, justified in the name of fighting an imaginary climate crisis, can disrupt a surgeon’s focus and sound judgement. The stress associated with managing these alarms only adds to already high levels of mental and emotional strain of a medical staff.

Imagine a critical surgery in progress. Intent on a delicate procedure, a surgeon’s attention is suddenly directed to a blaring alarm that forces him to have equipment settings adjusted to save the planet from harmless gases whose effect pales in comparison to a medical misstep. Such disruptions are impositions on surgical precision, time management and patient safety.

Concerned about the so-called carbon footprint of anaesthetic gases such as nitrous oxide, isoflurane, sevoflurane and desflurane, an increasing number of hospitals have sought to limit their use even though operating rooms are not even mentioned in a catalog of emitters.

The National Health Service (NHS) in Scotland has been at the forefront of advancing the fake climate emergency. The official website says staff will be required to pander to it in three key areas: surgery, anaesthesia and respiratory medicine. The NHS proudly states that it has “assigned an ambitious target to be net-zero for anaesthetic gases by 2027.”

Among the draconian proposals for “environmentally sustainable healthcare” are measures that compromise on the type of inhalers prescribed to patients, the amount of anaesthetic gas released and overall energy used in surgical rooms. Mind you, all these proposals have no detailed analysis of climate science and merely harp on political pronouncements about climatic threats.

All these emission-reduction strategies are based on assumptions that planetary warming is detrimental. This notion stands in stark contrast to the real-life metrics showing that humanity has progressed at an exponential rate due to advancements made possible through use of fossil fuels, that civilizations thrive during periods of relative warmth and that elevated levels of the greenhouse gas CO2 significantly enhances plant growth.

It is a shame that medical professionals—like those in the NHS of Scotland—are now being asked to define safety standards of a surgery or a hospital’s functionality based on pseudo-scientific proposals emanating from political bodies like the United Nations.

It is ridiculous that these professionals presume themselves to be climate experts focused on a faux crisis that has nothing to do with the patients depending on them for their health.

The politics of the climate movement must never take precedence over patient safety!

Vijay Jayaraj is a Research Associate at the CO2 Coalition, Arlington, Virginia. He holds a master’s degree in environmental sciences from the University of East Anglia, U.K.

Image: Title: surgeon