Governor Under Fire in Wake of Health Care Crisis

Governor Jim Gibbons is in southern Nevada to respond to those critics who say he mismanaged the health crisis and downplayed the entire outbreak.

Just two weeks ago, the governor said more oversight could be overkill and the outbreak wasn't a crisis because it affected just six people. Now the governor says this really is a crisis after all but patients are calling for the governor to be recalled.

"We need an honest, smart, ethical leader to take charge," said Sylvia Vargas with Citizens for Patient Dignity.

Upset patients want accountability. Yet after almost a month of waiting, Governor Gibbons came down to southern Nevada to finally answer his critics.

"I'm going to continue with an aggressive, laser-like focus on this issue," he said.

Gibbons' tone and actions have come under fire. He called for resignations from the medical board, but also said media buffoonery blew the scare out of proportion. At the time he said a few confirmed cases don't equal a crisis, but he seems to have changed his mind.

"When we have seven people out of 40,000, yes, that's a tragedy in and of itself," he said.

Yet in the same breath, Gibbons went back to his old way of thinking, "but on the overall average of what they would have expected, it's far lower."

Representative Shelley Berkley says the governor's call for resignations have been a waste of time.

"We need to focus on the problem and not these ancillary political, nonsense issues," she said.

Some patients say that Gibbons lacked leadership when he reacted too slowly and then focused on the board instead of inspectors. That leads them to only one conclusion.

"I would recommend all the citizens of Nevada to recall Governor Gibbons," said one forum participant.

To which the governor says everyone has an opinion, "Jumping to conclusions early on was neither in the best interests of the State of Nevada nor the health care committee."

There have also been questions about the number of inspectors. Governor Gibbons fought more funding for new workers, but said the agency in charge has a surplus and has not been able to find qualified inspectors.


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