'I Do Fear for My Staff,' a Doctor Said. He Lost His Job.
WASHINGTON, April 7 (Xinhua) -- A growing number of whistleblower medical workers have come out to reveal incompetence and ill-preparedness of U.S. hospitals and health authorities in containing COVID-19, braving the threat of getting fired.
Why it matters
Medical workers are frontline soldiers in the fight against COVID-19. Hospitals need them, patients rely on them. The health and safety of medical workers is vital to containing the spread of novel coronavirus. Numerous medical workers' lives, and consequently the lives of many more patients, are on the line if they continue to work unprotected, unequipped and overloaded.
What are they saying
"Our institution and the government have not provided us with the appropriate equipment to properly protect ourselves to care for these patients" The healthcare professionals are getting sick and we haven't even seen the height of this pandemic.
-- Amy Lee Pacholk, nurse at Stony Brook University Hospital on Long Island
A medical worker transfers the body of a victim who died of COVID-19 at a hospital in New York, the United States, April 6, 2020. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Xinhua)
"I have been buying my own supplies and stocking up gear even though my hospital says I'm not allowed…I'm going to do what I can do to protect my life and others. I refuse to abandon dying patients to save myself."
-- Jhonna Porter, 38, was nurse at West Hills Hospital in California before being suspended for posting these words on Facebook
"Hospitals are muzzling nurses and other healthcare workers in an attempt to preserve their image…It is outrageous."
-- Ruth Schubert, a spokeswoman for the Washington State Nurses Association, told Bloomberg
"I do fear for my staff. Morally, when you see something wrong, I think you have to speak out."
-- Ming Lin, who had been ER doctor of PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center for 17 years, was fired for speaking these words in a Youtube video
People petition for Dr. Ming Lin on social media after he was fired by hospital on March 28.
"He stood up and they tried to knock him down. Obviously they would search out and destroy a whistleblower!"
-- Rose Marie Norton-Nader, Facebook user comments on the sacking of Ming Lin
There is no nationwide data in U.S. on health care worker infections. But in Ohio reports at least 16% of its COVID-19 cases involved health care workers. In Minnesota, some 28% of infections are health workers.
In Houston, an emergency room nurse fell gravely ill after testing people for COVID-19 after his hospital could not find an N95 mask and gave him a thin surgical mask instead. A nurse in New York City working at a hospital that didn't have enough protective gear tested positive for the disease and died.
Medical personnel take a rest during the combat against COVID-19 in Tehran, Iran, March 28, 2020. (IRNA/Handout via Xinhua)
As World Health Day falls on Tuesday, people around the world are paying tribute to frontline medical workers who risk their lives in combating COVID-19.■