Even The Doctors Are Leaving San Francisco

Brian Joondeph | Physician

Back in the 1950s, Tony Bennett sang about leaving his heart in San Francisco: “High on a hill, it calls to me.” Sixty years later, doctors don’t want to leave their hearts, or any other body parts, for that matter, in San Francisco.

A major medical association is pulling its annual convention out of the city “where little cable cars climb halfway to the stars,” at least in Tony Bennett’s day. Now the cable cars climb only “to open drug use, threatening behavior and mental illness that are common on the streets.”

These are the reasons why a major medical group, responsible for 15,000 attendees at their annual convention, decided to say farewell to San Francisco. Voting with their feet, and their hearts, the association canceled their medical meeting is a loss of $40 million to the San Francisco economy, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

It also hit home for the leadership of the medical association. As the Chronicle noted, “It didn’t help that one board member had been assaulted near Moscone Center last year.”

San Francisco has been a great city for medical conventions. I attend at least one medical meeting a year there. The BART train runs conveniently from the airport to Market Street, near the hotels and convention center. Then there are the tourist attractions, shopping, restaurants and cable cars.

Walking through the underground BART station is an obstacle course, stepping over and around the homeless, hypodermic syringes and human waste. These things are not unfamiliar to physicians, but San Francisco is supposed to be the “Golden city by the Bay,” not a hospital ward.

How many major U.S. cities need a public defecation map to help tourists steer clear of steaming piles that they would rather not see or step in? Who needs public toilets when sidewalks are far more convenient and inclusive?

As of last week, “Over 16,000 feces-related complaints have been lodged with city authorities.” Around the same time, a 20-pound bag of human excrement was found on a San Francisco street corner.

How did this happen?

Nancy Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris represent the people of San Francisco. All three are virtue signaling, card-carrying liberals, and look at their city. It is one of many U.S. cities ruined by years of democratic leadership and governance.

San Francisco has become squalid enough that even physicians want to stay away. Many of these same doctors spent medical school or residency working in inner-city hospitals and clinics, well accustomed to caring for society’s downtrodden. But even they have limits.

Medical associations typically lean to the left politically, making it all the more significant that one such group has had enough of this left-wing city that Tony Bennett sang about, “Above the blue and windy sea.”

The American Medical Association, which championed Obamacare, is in lockstep with Democrats on gun control, climate change and immigration policy. It is specifically critical of the Trump administration for enforcing existing laws regarding illegal immigration and family separation, policies that were not much of a problem for them when Obama was in charge.

The American College of Surgeons is also displeased with President Trump for continuing immigration enforcement policies of previous administrations. Interestingly, both of these medical groups are based in Chicago and could potentially be the unnamed medical association canceling their San Francisco convention.

The medical group in question wants to move their meeting south to Los Angeles, which might only be a small improvement compared to San Francisco. Instead, why not have a virtual meeting? Think of the eliminated carbon footprint of doctors flying in from all over the country, getting around the city via buses or cars, exacerbating climate change and all the supposed attendant health problems.

When liberal cities offend everyone, including liberals, perhaps it’s time to reflect on their policies and priorities. Otherwise, expect many other trade groups to leave their heart in San Francisco, but take their business elsewhere.

Brian C Joondeph, MD, MPS, a Denver based physician and writer. Follow him on Facebook,  LinkedIn and Twitter.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

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