Are Our Medical Workers Safe?


The Philadelphia Inquirer

Due to a lack of adequate supply during the COVID-19 pandemic, nurses and healthcare professionals have been forced to deal with a PPE(Personal Protective Equipment) shortage.

Eliana Bornhauser, Staff Writer

The world has been occupied with the pandemic spread among all of us for weeks on end, and between social distancing, quarantine, and proper hygiene; we should continually be asking: What do our medical workers need?

Currently, the medical field is lacking the proper supplies that are required to treat patients and ensure the protection and safety of medical professionals. Nurses and doctors have expressed their lack of proper safety equipment by quitting their jobs and using social media platforms to promote the need for required equipment.

Arman Zamani, a nurse at Los Robles Regional Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, California, detailed the shortages at her hospital. “Currently we are out of PAPR hoods [respirators that filter out contaminants in the air to provide the user with clean air to breathe]. So all of the staff members that were not working during the time that our supply of PAPR hoods were distributed, are required to wear N95 masks along with a face shield. Our personal protective equipment, however, is being distributed by management. We are not technically ‘low’ or ‘out’ per day, but it is unclear how long our personal protective equipment inventory will last us,” she said.

Other nurses are forming demands, as they should. For example, organizations like National Nurses United (NNU) are requesting proper education on protocols about caring for COVID-19 patients and proper employer to employee communication. It is becoming clear that conditions are not practical nor safe for medical professionals or patients, proven by a survey conducted by the Inspector General of Health and Human Services that was mentioned in The Washington Post.

Furthermore, there is beginning to be a lack of properly educated medical workers. According to the New York Times, there are barely over 50,000 hospitalists (physicians) at this time in the U.S. This is considerably below the amount necessary to properly care for everyone. Physicians can be a vital part of retaining health, and our lack of them may be found disruptful in the near future. Even now, we are already seeing its effects in some hospitals.

The lack of protection among medical workers can help the spread of the virus and pose a threat to other patients in the hospitals, which is why it should be our country’s top concern and priority.

New York is continuing to face challenges in regards to the availability of proper medical supplies as they reach over 166,000 cases. Certain hospitals in New York are beginning to deny patients of tests unless they are in critical condition because of a lack of resources.