PeaceHealth, a multi hospital Catholic healthcare organization in the northwest, like most facilities in the country was unprepared for the coved-19 epidemic. They have experienced severe shortages of PPEs and have compensated by compromising the standard rules of asepsis. The hospital management cites a CDC guideline that allows these bad practices while dealing with a shortage of supplies. This is pragmatic but inadequate and our medical staff is rightly concerned. Denying there is a problem is dishonest and inherently Trumpian.
This is the hospital’s statement. “Caregivers and physicians currently have the PPE they need to care for COVID-19 patients, i.e., patients who require special precautions. However, given the national shortage with PPE, we are using a preservation strategy, recommended by the CDC and supported by our infection preventionists, to help ensure that we can meet the need long term, i.e., should we receive a surge of COVID-19 patients,”
“This preservation strategy is coupled with our efforts to procure and/or manufacture more PPE from local and worldwide sources, including from our community in the form of donations, which are coordinated through Whatcom Unified Command,” Karlapudi said.”
“Those same CDC guidelines allow one surgical mask to be allocated to a caregiver for use for eight hours, provided it doesn’t become compromised or soiled, Karlapudi added.”
The nurses concerns are outlined in the article. They are using one mask a day, some homemade and being asked to reuse them with inadequate procedures to clean them. “In its complaint, the Washington State Nurses Association said nurses were told to re-use and share personal protective equipment such as “PAPR without proper cleaning per manufacturer guidelines” and that “nurses were directed to remove masks before leaving a patient’s room.”
More in the article.
Medicynical note: PeaceHealth could possibly be excused for its lack of preparation, as no one else, including our President responded appropriately. But in their anxiety over criticism PeaceHealth fired an ER doctor who recognized and called attention to the hospital’s lack of preparation. A reprehensible act taken to silence well founded criticism.