If you were shocked about USA toppling China as the global leading country for coronavirus cases, you might want to sit down for this one.
US hospitals are now threatening to fire health-care workers who publicise their working conditions during the Covid-19 pandemic-and some cases, they already have!
“Hospitals are muzzling nurses and other health-care workers in an attempt to preserve their image,” said Ruth Schubert, a spokeswoman for the Washington State Nurses Association in a statement reported by the Star. An emergency room physician known as Ming Lin, said he was sacked on Friday when he was interviewed by a newspaper about a Facebook post that he wrote, detailing his opinion that the protective equipment used for medical staff was inadequate.
But he’s not the only one. A nurse from Chicago was also fired for merely emailing her colleagues and saying she wanted a more protective mask while on duty.
While hospitals typically have strict guidelines to protect patient privacy, the pandemic has ushered in a new sense of urgency. Schubert says medical workers “must have the ability to tell the public what is really going on inside the facilities where they are caring for Covid-19 patients.”
“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,” said Lauri Mazurkiewicz, another Chicago nurse who was fired for urging colleagues to wear more protective equipment.
The 46-year-old nurse has asthma and takes care of her elderly father who is at high risk of contracting the virus as he suffers from a respiratory disease. “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,” she said.
But when they bring their opinions online, these institutions claim that “associates are not authorised to interact with reporters or speak on behalf of the institution in any capacity, without pre-approval.” As crucial as client confidentiality is, it cannot be denied that these medical workers are suffering. They are only coming forward to voice their alarm at how poorly the situation is being dealt with:
“Our oath is to do no harm,” Lin said. “I spoke out for patient safety and as a result I got terminated.”
Thankfully, not all hospitals are blocking staff from publicising the current American crisis. New York’s Mount Sinai and the University of California San Francisco Medical Center are just some of the few institutions who encourage their workers to alert the public about what’s going on in the frontline.
“I’m hearing widespread stories from physicians across the country and they are all saying: ‘We have these stories that we think are important to get out, but we are being told by our hospital systems that we are not allowed to speak to the press, and if we do so there will be extreme consequences,”said Nisha Mehta, a radiologist who runs two Facebook groups for physicians amounting to around 70,000 members.
“The public needs to hear these stories and other physicians need to hear them to be warned against what’s coming. It’s so important that everyone understands how bad this is going to get,” she added.
The world needs to know what’s happening if we’re going to work together to fight this pandemic, and win. What do you guys think about this?
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