Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) - Every Healthcare Worker's Right

There is no emergency in a pandemic
Image result for doctor with ppe

This article is for the healthcare workers, doctors, surgeons, nurses, aides, EMS and all staff. This article should be read along with many news reports of doctors dying from COVID-19 throughout the world. Do not repeat the same mistakes that they made. If you do not have proper PPE, do not go in. No matter what. There is no emergency in a pandemic.

You as a healthcare worker are a force multiplier. Your training and experience are invaluable moving into this crisis. So, you're going to be faced with some very difficult moments. You're going to have to put your needs first. I'm speaking specifically about PPE and your safety.

If you're an ICU doctor or an ICU nurse, and you become infected, not only are you out of the game for potentially weeks (or killed), but your replacements could be people without your expertise. Your remaining co-workers are short-staffed now, more likely to make mistakes and become ill themselves. You stop being a force multiplier and start using healthcare resources.

Your going in may save the patient, it may not. But you can't save any patients in the weeks you are lying in a hospital bed or using a vent yourself. People are going to die. Do not become one of them. There is no emergency in a pandemic.

You may work in long term care, and want to rush in to save a patient you have had for years. Do not go in without your PPE. You may have a survivor in the room, screaming at you to come in because their mother is crashing. Do not go in without your PPE. You may have an infected woman in labour screaming for help. Do not go in without your PPE. You may have a self quarantined patient with a gunshot wound and is bleeding out. Do not go in there without your PPE. There is no emergency in a pandemic.

Doing nothing may be the hardest thing you've ever had to do in your life. Many of you say I could never do that. I wouldn't be able to stop myself from rushing in and saving my patient. Many nurses and doctors said the same thing, and many did run in to help, saying PPE be damned, my patients need me. Then they became infected, they infected others. And they died. They didn't help anyone after that.

In Italy, 8% of COVID-19 cases are medical staff. Do not let the deaths of hundreds of healthcare workers be forgotten. Do not repeat the same errors made by medics in other nations. Be prepared, protect yourself, stay alive to treat the patients and fight the pandemic.


References:

  1. Europe’s Doctors Repeat Errors Made in Wuhan, China Medics Say https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-17/europe-s-doctors-getting-sick-like-in-wuhan-chinese-doctors-say
  2. Thirteen medics have died in Italy, over 2600 health workers infected https://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=12318564
  3. Lancet piece warns of threat to doctors & paramedics https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/lancet-piece-warns-of-threat-to-doctors-paramedics/articleshow/74740402.cms
  4. WHO Warns: Health Workers Endangered Worldwide by Shortage of Personal Protective Equipment https://scitechdaily.com/who-warns-health-workers-endangered-worldwide-by-shortage-of-personal-protective-equipment/
  5. Marcello Natali, Italian doctor who exposed supply shortage, dies from coronavirus  https://nypost.com/2020/03/19/marcello-natali-italian-doctor-who-exposed-supply-shortage-dies-from-coronavirus/
  6. Coronavirus kills Chinese whistleblower doctor https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-51403795
  7. Several young doctors in China have died of the coronavirus  https://www.businessinsider.in/science/news/several-young-doctors-in-china-have-died-of-the-coronavirus-medical-workers-are-far-more-vulnerable-to-infection-than-the-general-population-/articleshow/74417449.cms
  8. Europe’s Desperate Doctors Are Shielded by Trash Bags https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-21/europe-s-desperate-doctors-are-shielded-by-trash-bags
  9. China’s Doctors, Fighting the Coronavirus, Beg for Masks https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/14/world/asia/china-coronavirus-doctors.html
  10. Hospital director dies in Wuhan as China designates dead nurses and doctors as 'martyrs' https://edition.cnn.com/2020/02/17/asia/coronavirus-covid-19-update-intl-hnk/index.html
  11. Karnataka doctor who treated India's first coronavirus victim tests positive https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hubballi/doctor-who-treated-indias-first-coronavirus-victim-also-tests-positive/articleshow/74668229.cms
  12. NHS staff protection 'short of WHO guidelines' https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-51989700
  13. NHS doctors feel like ‘lambs to slaughter’ without protective kit, warns senior medic https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/url-coronavirus-uk-update-nhs-boris-johnson-covid-19-latest-a9416586.html


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