Tennesseans Owe Thanks to Doctors, Health Care Workers for Statewide Stay-at-Home Order By Governor

Petition by 2,000 doctors generated 31,000 signatures calling for the life-saving measure. Doctors say more work to do.

NASHVILLE -- Doctors and nurses who called for a life-saving, statewide stay-at-home order from Gov. Bill Lee are celebrating today. Nearly two weeks after 2,000 doctors sent a letter to Governor Lee and launched a petition calling for the life-saving measure, the governor has acted

The petition generated more than 31,000 signatures, according to Dr. Aaron Milstone, a pulmonary specialist who is treating COVID-19 patients in Tennessee.

“We are thrilled to finally have a stay-at-home order and it only happened because of the thousands of doctors and healthcare workers across this state used their voice to protect the wellbeing of their patients, their colleagues and their neighbors,” said Dr. Milstone. “Many of these frontline healthcare workers who risk their lives every day also risked their careers for speaking up — and we cannot thank them enough.”

Milstone believes the stay-at-home order is a testament to the power of doctors, nurses, healthcare workers and citizens who make their voices heard.

“This movement showed that — despite our differences — when people come together, we can make change that saves lives,” Milstone said. “And beating this pandemic is going to take all of us doing just that: setting politics and our differences aside, following the science and advice of health experts, and all working together.”

While healthcare workers are grateful for Gov. Bill Lee’s executive order today, Dr. Milstone says this is no time for celebrations or to ease up in the state’s response.

“We want to thank Gov. Lee for listening to the voices of doctors, nurses and citizens across our state, but this is no time to relax,” Milstone said. “We are racing against a pandemic that doesn’t care about executive orders or politics and, right now, we are still weeks behind.”

According to Milstone, the state should immediately begin assessing and publicizing levels of medical supplies and protective equipment.

“We know there are doctors and nurses who don’t have adequate supplies of protective equipment, like face shields, masks and gloves, and we know there are hospitals that don’t have all the equipment they may need to treat COVID patients,” Milstone said. “We can catch up and protect more lives, but we have to act fast.”

About the TN Doctors and Health Care Workers Advocacy for a for a Stay at Home Order

  • 2,000 doctors and health care workers original letter sent back on March 20th.
  • An online petition launched March 20th by healthcare workers invited Tennesseans to help grow demand from citizens across the state for Gov. Lee to start listening to doctors. That petition has grown to over 31,000Tennesseans as of March 30th.
  • Decisive, early leadership by city mayors with their own letter and city-level actions on March 21st.
  • On March 22nd, doctors behind the letter responded to Governor Lee’s failure to act early or decisively on the urgent plea of health experts.
  • This was followed by:
    • a week of local, state, national and international media coverage of state health care experts being emphatically clear, a Stay at Home order is what Governor Lee MUST do, to save more lives in Tennessee in local, state and national media coverage.
    • thousands of emails, phone calls, and tweets at the Governor from citizens across Tennesse advocating on behalf of the doctors and nurses standing up for the oath of their profession using the tools at ProtectMyCare.org.
    • "In the absence of a statewide order at this point, your local orders can help protect our population and save lives." said  Dr. Elise Denneny, MD and Dr. M. Kevin Smith, MD, PhD, President and President-Elect of the Tennessee Medical Association in a letter to all mayors in Tennessee Friday, March 27th.
    • The Tennessee Nurses Association on March 30th.
    • On top of all of this as of Saturday, March 28th, were 26 states with Stay at Home orders