Skip to Content

Yuma Doctor Opens Up After Getting Booted After Tweeting About ICU Capacity

dr cleavon gilman
Dr. Cleavon Gilman

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA/KECY) - When Dr. Cleavon Gilman arrived in Yuma back in June, after working in New York for several months, signs of COVID-19 did not seem evident as bars were packed and restaurants were again open for indoor dining.

"My vision as very clear," said Dr. Cleavon Gilman. "I wanted to work in an underserved community and provide great care."

Dr. Gilman served as a hospital corpsman in the U.S. Marines during the Iraq War before becoming the chief resident of emergency medicine at New York-Presbyterian Hospital during the beginning of the pandemic.

Since March 20, Dr. Gilman has been documenting what's "been happening on the frontlines" in his journal #CleavonMDjournal.

As soon as he began work at Yuma Regional Medical Center (YRMC), the deadly presence of the virus hovered thru its halls, but he was not able to continue documenting it.

"I treated so many people that did everything right," said Dr.Gilman. "But they went to a birthday party once and they got sick."

During a shift in late-November, Dr.Gilman tried to transfer patients into other ICU's in the state but was told that there was no space.

"I came into a shift and I wasn’t able to transfer any patients out, that there weren't any beds in Arizona," said Dr. Gilman. "At the same time, I am being told by Governor Doug Ducey that there is 150 ICU beds in Arizona."

That was the last straw for the ER doctor who then took his frustrations to Twitter.

In a Tweet that has now been re-tweeted over 25,000 times, the doctor expressed what he witnessed, sounding the alarms of the impending surge in the Desert Southwest

"This has always been about saving lives, said Dr. Gilman. "I lost three colleagues to this virus, I also lost a 23-year-old cousin that was training for the NBA.”

Eventually, all good deeds go unpunished. Dr. Gilman went over 3-weeks without a shift after the tweet, all the meanwhile YRMC claiming they are facing a shortage of staff and not of space.

The doctor said Envision Healthcare, the healthcare staffing company he worked for, told him YRMC did not want him to come in due to his tweets.

"That was very heartbreaking," said Dr. Gilman "You move to a community, you move your family here, your two kids, your fiancée, your mother in law and one day over a tweet about ICU beds you can’t come back to work.”

However, in a statement released late Thursday night, YRMC writes:

"I’m on the frontlines treating patients," said Dr. Gilman. "There are two parts to a hospital right? There are the frontline people that are treating patients and there are the hospital admins that are not treating patients."

Since then, Dr. Gilman has become an outspoken figure for frontline workers and has now begun efforts to defend frontline workers that speak up.

Recently the ER doctor received a phone call from President Elect Joe Biden where he was thanked for this work during the pandemic.

Amid all, Dr. Gilman isn't willing to but all things aside as the Desert Southwest faces a shortage of staff as he 'no longer can work at a place that he can trust'.

"I want the hospital to see me as an ally, said Dr. Gilman. "I’m not doing anything wrong, I’m seeing our community being affected by this."

For now, Dr. Gilman leaves the Yuma community with one piece of advise: "Please, take this very seriously."

Article Topic Follows: Top Stories

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

Christian Galeno

Christian Galeno joined the News 11/CBS 13 team in July of 2019 as a Weekend Anchor and multimedia journalist. He now anchors 13 on Your Side at 6, and 10.

Reach to Christian at


KYMA KECY is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content