Hospitals Tell Doctors They’ll Be Fired If They Speak Out About Lack Of Protective Gear
Medical employees in the U.S. are using the web to notify the public of equipment shortages as hospitals fight the increasing threat of COVID-19.
Medical workers of all types are using hashtag “GetMePPE” to make light of what they have been through due to the shortages.
“I’m a physician at a hospital in NYC, and THIS IS THE ‘PPE’ I WAS JUST HANDED for my shift,” one person shared, showing a picture of a rain poncho they’re using instead of a medical gown. “Our federal government has completely failed its health care workers.”
— Rachel, MD (@racheljulie) March 31, 2020
Dr. Ayrenne Adams, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston said:
“After examining a hypoxic woman in her 50s with no medical problems who likely has COVID, I had to clean my single-use face shield that I’ve worn the past three days with disinfectant used to clean hospital beds since we ran out of sanitizing wipes.”
After examining a hypoxic woman in her 50s with no medical problems who likely has COVID, I had to clean my single-use face shield that I’ve worn the past three days with disinfectant used to clean hospital beds since we ran out of sanitizing wipes #GetMePPE pic.twitter.com/85xQcmc1dN
— Ayrenne Adams, MD MPH (@AyrenneAdamsMD) March 28, 2020
However, as per a recent Bloomberg report, some hospital staff are being threatened with losing their jobs for posting such things.
Emergency room physician Ming Lin of Washington State was dismissed by his workplace after he told a local paper about a similar kind of thing he posted on social media.
Meanwhile, in Chicago, a nurse named Lauri Mazurkiewicz was let go because she messaged colleagues regarding low quantities of protective clothing.
Over in New York, the NYU Langone Health system sent a mass email letting workers know they will be fired if they talk to the media without their approval.
Nurse Mazurkiewicz was let go. She revealed that she was encouraging co-workers to wear extra gear due to her asthma and to protect her old father.
“A lot of hospitals are lying to their workers and saying that simple masks are sufficient and nurses are getting sick and they are dying,” the nurse said. “I didn’t want to get infected because I’m not wearing the proper mask and then spread it to my patients and my family.”
The hospital did not wish to comment on the story because Mazurkiewicz has filed a lawsuit.
NYU Langone Health spokesperson Jim Mandler said that the hospital’s policy was to keep patient and staff information confidential.
“Because information is constantly evolving, it is in the best interest of our staff and the institution that only those with the most updated information are permitted to address these issues with the media,” he said.
It’s hard to come to grips with the fact that #WhenCoronaVirusIsOver some of us in healthcare will not be standing. And to think that is partially due to a lack of #PPE is infuriating. #GetMePPE pic.twitter.com/id5rrHoQFH
— Joseph Sakran (@JosephSakran) March 29, 2020
Ruth Schubert, a spokesperson for the Washington State Nurses Association, said:
“Hospitals are muzzling nurses and other health-care workers in an attempt to preserve their image. It is outrageous.”
She added that healthcare workers
“must have the ability to tell the public what is really going on inside the facilities where they are caring for CCOVID19 patients.”
My babies are too young to read this now. And they’d barely recognize me in my gear. But if they lose me to COVID I want them to know Mommy tried really hard to do her job. #GetMePPE #NYC pic.twitter.com/OMew5G7mjK
— Cornelia Griggs (@CorneliaLG) March 29, 2020
Faculty director Glenn Cohen of Harvard Law School’s bioethics center told Bloomberg:
“It is good and appropriate for health-care workers to be able to express their own fears and concerns, especially when expressing that might get them better protection. When health-care workers say they are not being protected, the public gets very upset at the hospital system.”
Even with the looming threats of dismissal, many medical workers are still speaking out.
Do you believe these hospitals are justified to take such actions towards their employees? Let us know by joining the conversation in the comments and please share this article if you’ve found it informative.