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Lawsuit challenges Whitmer on postponement of "nonessential" medical procedures

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Three medical practices and a patient filed suit in federal court on Tuesday challenging Governor Gretchen Whitmer's executive order that prohibits nonessential medical procedures during the state of emergency.

The order was put in place to make sure Michigan's health care system has enough capacity to fight COVID-19 and to prevent its spread.

The lawsuit alleges Whitmer's order is causing irreparable harm by preventing patients from receiving the care they need.

"It is our goal to have our people be able to provide services now that it looks like the curve has been flattened enough that we shouldn't be ignoring the other health care issues that are non-COVID related," said Patrick Wright, director of the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation which represents the plaintiffs.

Jordan Warnsholz owns two of the medical practices filing suit.

He claimed the order is harming patient health.

"Patients who have been unable to obtain routine care are running into medical emergencies which are leading to detrimental life-changing medical events," said Warnsholz. "We've seen heart attacks, sepsis, critical care admissions, and organ failure."

Warnsholz said the order is also causing dire financial consequences for medical practices, which could lead to their closure and is already resulting in job loss.

The lawsuit alleges Whitmer's order violates state law and the U.S. Constitution.

Spokespersons for Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel, who is also a named defendant, declined to comment on pending litigation.

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Virginia Gordan has been a part-time reporter at Michigan Radio since fall 2013. She has a general beat covering news topics from across the state.