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COVID-19: Our hospital administrators do not care if we get sick or die

By staff |
April 12, 2020
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Editor’s note: The author of this article is not named due to the likelihood of retaliation by hospital administrators.

Every day I go to work, I walk into a complete disaster. I am a health care worker in a hospital in a major Midwestern city and our hospital administrators have no clue how to handle the coronavirus pandemic.

Every day I go into work, I’m expected to adapt to an ever-changing crisis. Workplace expectations are ranging from the new CDC guidelines to a continuously moving date as to when we will be having a rapid increase in patients This expected peak has now changed four times in the past three weeks.

One day I am told we only have enough personal protective equipment (PPE) for the next two days, only to be informed my next shift that staff allegedly has all the PPE needed. We are given instruction that we should not be in the same room as any COVID-19 patient without a full PPE setup including face shields, N95 masks, gloves and a full gown. We are then told only people who are doing specific procedures with COVID patients need the full PPE.

This uncertainty is creating a panic and a level of hopelessness among healthcare workers as we are being told to walk blindly into the largest global pandemic in 100 years. We have gotten zero credible guidance from our administrators whose leadership is tailing CDC [Centers for Disease Control] recommendations.

The CDC and FDA [Food and Drug Administration] have created ridiculously low standards of what is acceptable to wear as PPE. From wearing a bandana to reusing ‘sanitized’ N95 masks, trained healthcare professionals know that these practices are not effective and could put more people in danger in a hospital setting.

The shortage of PPE and ventilators doesn’t make sense with the amount of resources that hospital networks have, particularly considering their tendency to merge into larger and larger corporations. These networks can pay their top executives millions of dollars annually yet are not able to provide us with basic equipment that we know we need to stop the spread of infection and protect ourselves and our patients.

Healthcare makes up 17.8% of the U.S. economy, and the heads of industry have a lot of influence in policy and how this country runs. They are the people who helped put Donald Trump in office. They are the people who price-gouge patients - pandemic or not. They are the people who sat back and let the industry get to the point where nurses are using garbage bags as PPE.

I have one surgical mask for each shift that does not protect me from this virus. Our hospital administrator told us that they are assuming we all have it, and we need to wear surgical masks to prevent our patients from getting the virus. Our administrators do not care if we are ill, our administrators do not care if we die. We are being sent into the fire naked to save as many people as we possibly can.

Parasitic millionaire executives are driving this ship and it is sinking fast. This pandemic is highlighting the dangerous lack of resources for workers and patients. This pandemic is highlighting the absurdly dangerous nature of for-profit healthcare in this country. The people who lose are workers and dying patients and the winners are health insurance companies, executives and administrators.

We need a health care system not driven by profit. We need a massive movement led by health care workers that is demanding free and quality healthcare for all of our patients, because we are the experts in patient care.

We need people to join unions or organize new ones in healthcare settings and turn them into fighting organizations. We need to bring the struggle back to the shop floor and fight for the health and safety for all health care workers and our patients whether we are in a pandemic or not.

Through all of this, I am proud to work in healthcare and proud of the bravery of my fellow nurses, technical employees (lab, CNA’s, respiratory therapists, etc.), physicians and housekeepers who wake up every day to save people’s lives.

Please take the current social distancing and your state’s guidelines seriously and stay safe, healthy and stay home if you can.