New York Nurses Association To Sue Over Lack Of Protective Gear In First Legal Action Of Its Kind In Outbreak
Because of widespread protective-gear shortages, nurses across the country have been asked to wear the same masks, gowns, face shields and other equipment for days on end. Health care providers have been vocal about the issue since the outbreak began, but the New York State Nurses Association's case is the first taken to the courts. In other news on health-care workers: wealthy hospitals woo providers; front-line workers report on nightmarish scenarios; a look at how doctor's offices struggle amid crisis; and more.
New York Nurses Union To Sue State Health Department, Hospitals Over Equipment Shortages
The New York State Nurses Association plans to file three lawsuits on Monday over a lack of personal protective equipment and what it considers dangerous guidance issued by the state department of health during the coronavirus pandemic — the first legal action of its kind since the outbreak began. The Montefiore Health System and Westchester Medical Center allegedly did not protect their nurses and provide them with adequate protective equipment — following guidance from the state health department to help health systems ration medical supplies, NYSNA members told POLITICO. (Eisenberg, 4/15)
The Associated Press:
Nurses Suspended For Refusing COVID-19 Care Without N95 Mask
Nurse Mike Gulick was meticulous about not bringing the novel coronavirus home to his wife and their 2-year-old daughter. He’d stop at a hotel after work just to take a shower. He’d wash his clothes in Lysol disinfectant. They did a tremendous amount of handwashing. But at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, Gulick and his colleagues worried that caring for infected patients without first being able to don an N95 respirator mask was risky. (Mendoza and Kruesi, 4/16)
Frontline Volunteers Caught Up In Red Tape, Wooed To Private Hospitals Instead
Government bureaucracy and a bidding war between wealthy and poorer hospitals is complicating the response to the coronavirus pandemic, and some warn it's putting low-income patients in further jeopardy. Wealthy hospitals are tapping into their coffers to lure nurses from across the country but they're also pulling from the city’s public and so-called safety-net hospitals, which provide care to patients regardless of their ability to pay. (Eisenberg and Young, 4/15)
San Francisco Chronicle:
CDC Report Reveals How Coronavirus Spread From Patient To Health Care Workers In Solano County
A woman with COVID-19 at a Solano County hospital — the nation’s first case from an unknown source — exposed 121 health workers to the coronavirus, yet only three got the disease, a new study of the February case reveals. All three had been in close contact for about two hours with the patient, and two had no protective gear, according to the report published Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those workers also examined the patient and performed treatments that involved close contact, such as placing her on a breathing machine. (Moench, 4/16)
In Detroit, Over 2,600 Health Care Workers Have Gotten Sick From The Coronavirus
More than 2,600 health care workers around Detroit have tested positive for the coronavirus. They're adapting while grappling with "survivor guilt" and the loss of their coworkers. (Wells, 4/15)
The Associated Press:
`Am I Going Now To My Execution?' One Doctor's Very Long Day
It was March 7, in the afternoon. Dr. Giovanni Passeri had just returned home from Maggiore Hospital, where he is an internist, when he was urgently called back to work. His ward at the hospital was about to admit its first COVID-19 case. Driving back to the hospital, down the tree-lined streets of Parma, Passeri, 56, recalled thinking: “Am I going now to my execution?” Italy’s more than 21,000 coronavirus dead have included scores of doctors, including a colleague of Passeri’s at Maggiore, a hospital in one of Italy’s hardest-hit northern provinces. (Stinellis and D'Emilio, 4/16)
NYC Medical Residents Treating Coronavirus Describe 'Living A Nightmare'
On the front lines of the coronavirus crisis that has swept through New York City, a medical resident in Brooklyn decided to write about dealing with a historic pandemic at what is an early and critical time in the career of a doctor. "Throughout these last couple of weeks I've hit a whole range of emotions," the resident, who works at several hospitals in Brooklyn, wrote in text shared with NBC News. "There have been multiple days where I'd come home and just feel … defeated." (Silva, 4/16)
Service Has Bought Nearly 4,000 Meals From Local Restaurants For New York City Medical Workers
Anna Azvolinsky and Joel Weingarten were looking for ways to help local hospitals amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. Azvolinsky, a molecular biologst, already had donated a cache of N95 masks she found in her closet. When she was speaking with a doctor at Mount Sinai West, she asked what else they could do. "We really don't have time to eat," Weingarten said the doctor told his wife. (Torres, 4/15)
Last Responders: The Grim Job Of Medical Examiners In The COVID-19 Pandemic
Just as first responders have been working hard to treat and prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, another group of medical staff have been working hard as last responders: medical examiners. Medical examiners, also called forensic pathologists, are doctors who undergo intensive training to examine dead bodies to determine the likely cause of death. (Baldwin, 4/16)
How Immigrant Medical Professionals Are Helping To Fight The Coronavirus
The battle against the coronavirus has been strained by shortages of ventilators, gloves and N95 masks, but hospitals are also scrambling to keep enough medical staff in place to deal with the surges of patients. Experts say immigrants are helping to fill this need and could play a bigger role if some of the obstacles they face are removed — from long and costly licensing processes to acceptance and even respect. (Peñaloza, 4/16)
Doctors Offices Are Small Businesses Too. And They're Struggling To Stay Afloat During The Pandemic
About half the medical care in California is delivered by solo and small practice physicians, according to the California Medical Association. In a recent survey of its members, 50% of doctors said they’ve had to lay off fellow physicians, nurses and office staff because of the downturn, and 11% closed down temporarily. (Dembosky, 4/15)
Kaiser Health News:
Coronavirus Nurses Ask An Ebola Veteran: Is It OK To Be Afraid?
Martha Phillips knows exactly how it feels to suddenly find oneself up close to — and unprotected from — a deadly virus. In 2014, Phillips, an emergency room nurse, was at the bedside of a suspected Ebola patient in Sierra Leone when the disposable plastic guard protecting her face came loose. (Stone, 4/16)
'Lost On The Frontline': Know of a health-care worker who died of COVID-19? KHN and The Guardian are documenting the lives of U.S. workers who succumbed during the crisis. These are the front-line health workers who risk their lives to care for the sick and keep our facilities running. Please share their stories here.