Murdock, a cardiologist with Aspirus, attended the Open Wisconsin Now rally in Mosinee in opposition to Gov. Tony Evers’ decision to continue the state’s Safer at Home order through May 26. Aspirus officials, in a news release, said Murdock was placed on leave because their internal policies require employees to comply with the Safer at Home order.
On the Monday morning after the rally, Murdock agreed to leave the office after notifying his employer that he attended. Murdock said he agreed to leave the office for the rest of the week as part of established policy. He then took off an additional week of vacation to contemplate his future.
In his post, Murdock said he attended the rally to gain a better understanding of the economic side of the pandemic. The timing was good, Murdock said, because most of his clinic visits were already scheduled for phone or video, and he wasn’t scheduled to be in the hospital for another two weeks.
The backlash was sudden and severe.
“I was accused of taking action that would cause the death of children,” Murdock wrote in his Facebook post. “I was accused of showing a total disregard for my patients’ health. These words and accusations do not in any way reflect my 33 years of dedicated service to my patients and my community”
Murdock said he was in total agreement with the first Safer at Home order and still believes it was the right thing to do. But he also points to deep concern about the impact on the local economy and health care system, where millions of healthcare workers are affected.“The shutdown of clinics has reduced access to healthcare,” Murdock wrote. “People are afraid to come into our office or the emergency room. Cancers are not being detected or operated on, dental care is not being provided, severe orthopedic issues are not being addressed, and some specialties–such as ENT, dermatology, chiropractic care, and some surgical specialties–are being decimated…a poor economy has morbidity and lethality too.” Aspirus officials earlier this month said they respect Murdock’s right to free speech and assembly but do not condone his violation of the state order.