Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Doctors Say Hospitals Do Not Allow Them To Wear Masks

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Leila Fadel reports for NPR:

Neilly Buckalew is a traveling doctor who fills in at hospitals when there’s need. So in the midst of this pandemic, she feels particularly vulnerable to contracting the coronavirus — not just in hospitals but in hotels and on her travels.

When she got an assignment last week at Saint Alphonsus Regional Rehabilitation Hospital in Boise, Idaho, she packed her own personal protective equipment and drove to town. She disinfected her hotel room and stayed away from other guests but worried about the coughing person in the room next door. So she donned her own fitted N95 mask that she uses for work.

“I wanted to protect myself,” she said. “I wanted to protect my patients.”

That first day at work, Buckalew said she was told to take off her mask.

When she asked hospital administrators why, the reasons kept changing. First Buckalew said she was told it was against hospital policy for health care workers to bring their own gear. Then, she said, administrators told her if she wore her own N95 mask, others would want to wear the masks as well and the hospital didn’t have enough. Finally, Buckalew said, it was that CDC guidelines don’t require the mask at all times.

“I said if I can’t wear it, then we have a problem,” she said.

Refusing to take off her mask, she said, got her terminated. Then, she said after complaining she was reinstated and then terminated again — all within three days.

“I’m raising a huge big stink because it’s wrong. It’s unsafe. We’ll never flatten the curve if hospital systems keep acting this way,” she said, adding that she’s speaking now because she’s already lost her assignment and wanted to speak on behalf of those who can’t. “A lot of people can’t speak out because they’re afraid, or they know that they’ll be fired.”

The rehabilitation hospital is a joint venture by the Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center and Encompass Health. A spokesman at the medical center referred NPR to Encompass Health. Repeated calls to Encompass Health for comment were not returned. Buckalew said she filed a formal complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Buckalew’s account lays bare tensions between some hospital systems and health care workers on the front lines of this disease. Many doctors, nurses and other hospital workers say they don’t feel protected and are afraid in the midst of a shortage of masks and other protective gear. Some are bringing their own supplies donated by friends and family or purchased at hardware stores. Meanwhile, some hospitals are instituting strict policies that bar medical workers from bringing their own personal protective equipment, or PPE, to work, or limiting how much protection a person can wear because of a shortage in supplies.

Leaders at the American Academy of Emergency Medicine says they have heard accounts like Buckalew’s from health care workers across the country.

“We’re hearing a lot of people saying that ‘I’m not getting adequate PPE at my job, so I was able to buy PPE and I’m using what I buy,'” said Dr. Lisa Moreno, the president-elect of AAEM.

But when they wear it to work, she says doctors have told her, “‘I’m being yelled at. I’m being told to take it off. I’m being told that I’m scaring patients and that I’m scaring other people.’ We’ve had people who had their jobs threatened.”

Moreno said about two dozen people have formally complained to her organization. She said they’ve also received hundreds of calls from health care workers who are afraid to lose their jobs if they complain, but also feel that hospitals aren’t letting them do what they need to do to protect themselves against an infectious and new virus. . .

Continue reading. There’s much more.

So hospitals are cutting benefits for doctors and nurses and now are not allowing them to wear masks. Perhaps soon we’ll see hospitals not allowing doctors and nurses on the premises — hospitals seem already to be doing everything they can to get them to stay away.

Written by Leisureguy

2 April 2020 at 9:35 am

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