Sick: Boston hospital staff protest Melania Trump's visit

How sick do medical professionals have to be for politics to override the benefits of a visit from the First Lady and the Secretary of Health and Human Services? That question was answered Wednesday as Melania Trump and Alex Azar visited Boston Medical Center. They were met with a group of about 200 protesters.

Here’s the twist: the protesters weren’t random Bostonians who showed up in front of the hospital — they were members of the hospital staff, who might need to get examined for symptoms of Trump Derangement Syndrome. Melania Trump and Secretary Azar visited Boston Medical Center as outreach for the First Lady’s Be Best initiative. Boston is a liberal city, but this is behavior unbecoming of medical professionals in any city.

Melania’s crime is being married to President Trump. The protesters held her accountable for what was described as fear felt by illegal immigrants which prevents them from coming forward to receive medical care.

“Families need to be together, that the best way to support children’s development is for them to be with their families,” Carmen Rosa Norona, a psychotherapist working with young children affected by trauma, told The Associated Press. “That being the children, having the possibility to grow up with their families, is a human right in that the policies of separating families are a violation of those rights.”

“This is not a person that we want to come to our home, our hospital,” added Cecilia Girard, a 26-year employee who works as a nurse-midwife.

This leaves me to ponder if there is a litmus test a patient must pass in order to receive medical care at Boston Medical Center. What if that young nurse-midwife is the only one available to deliver a baby and the expectant mom comes in wearing a Trump campaign t-shirt, or the expectant father is sporting a red MAGA hat? We know that Trump supporters have been run out of restaurants and other public places, whether it is a member of the general public or a member of the administration. Does that behavior escalate into places like hospitals as the 2020 election gets closer?

Boston Medical Center was chosen because of a program it developed to comfort babies born addicted to drugs. This program easily falls into the scope of Melania Trump’s work on the opioid crisis and her obvious love of children.

Trump went to the Boston hospital because it’s developed the cuddling program to nurture babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome, and also works with expectant mothers who misuse drugs or alcohol.

Proponents say cuddling helps lower stress in infants born to addicted women. It includes parental presence at the infant’s bedside, skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding.

National attention to the cuddling program was squandered by medical staff. They were too consumed by their own personal political ideology to allow the visit to be focused on the most vulnerable of patients. Instead, they stole the attention away from babies born with drug addiction. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar pointed out that the Trump administration is focused on the problem of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome brought about by the opioid crisis.

Melania Trump met with doctors and administrators. She spoke with doctors in the hospital’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and took a tour. She spoke with patients in the hospital and their families. This is what she does. Melania Trump makes a point of visiting children and hospitals when she is in most cities. Some First Ladies focus on literacy. Some focus on gardening and forcing lunches on schoolchildren that are epic failures. Melania Trump focuses on the lives of children.

A visit by the First Lady and the Secretary of Health and Human Services is helpful for any medical facility. I can only imagine how cringeworthy this ugly exhibition by the anti-Trumpers on the staff was for the hospital’s development department – the people who are responsible for finding the money for the hospital, whether it is private donations or government grants. The demonstrators said more about themselves than they did about the First Lady or Alex Azar.

“I’m protesting because our babies, our vulnerable babies, shouldn’t be used as political props,” said Monica Joyce, who has worked as a nurse-midwife at the hospital for five years.

Right. That is exactly what the demonstrators were doing, though. They used the babies who brought Melania Trump to the hospital as their props, er, excuse for a protest.

A standard complaint of liberal women about Melania Trump (or Ivanka Trump) is that she is “complicit” – she doesn’t stop President Trump from making policies with which liberal women don’t agree. Our open-minded, inclusive betters only have tolerance for groupthink and it must go their way. One woman even said Melania might scare off patients.

“We’re here, standing in solidarity with the community to show we’re not complicit,” said Erica Pike, program manager of the hospital’s pediatric community-engagement network.

Because Boston Medical Center has a large patient population of immigrants and people of color, some employees said they feared the first lady’s presence could scare off patients.

There is a little good news in this story. The head of the hospital was alerted about the protest being organized several days before Melania’s visit and chose to not allow the angry mob to dictate how to proceed. She refused to cancel the visit. Also, some employees were willing to show some common sense in their remarks to reporters. One doesn’t have to agree with all of this administration’s policies to recognize that a visit by the First Lady is good and helpful.

“I’m torn because Melania Trump is bringing a good cause to light, but we do need to stand in solidarity with our patients who are affected by this administration’s policies,” De Ornelas said. “A lot of our patients are immigrants who are scared every day. … She is bringing a lot to a really important cause. But the Trump administration’s racist rhetoric and anti-immigrant policies go against our core values, and at the end of the day, Melania is part of that administration. Maybe this is all a show to show they care about this (opioid) epidemic.”

Protesting the president and his administration is perfectly acceptable. Holding the First Lady accountable for his policies as she goes about her work is not acceptable. Can you imagine if 200 conservatives protested a visit to a school by Michelle Obama? Of course not. Leave Melania alone.