Some health-care workers have been warned that they could possibly lose their jobs, if they complain about the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), to the media, Bloomberg reports.
Kathy Lewis, executive vice president of communications for NYU Langone Health, reportedly sent a notice to all of its employees, informing them that they could be "subject to disciplinary action, including termination" if they were to speak to the media without their authorization. NYU Langone Health spokesperson Jim Mandler said the hospital is instituting these measures to protect patient and staff confidentiality. "Because information is constantly evolving, it is in the best interest of our staff and the institution that only those with the most updated information are permitted to address these issues with the media," Mandler explained.
The Montefiore Health System, which consists of 15 hospitals throughout New York, has issued a reminder to its employees that all media requests "must be shared and vetted" by the public relations department. Meanwhile, Mount Sinai in New York has taken an entirely different approach, and actually scheduled interviews with its staff.
Ming Lin, an emergency room physician from Washington, was fired by the PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center after he spoke with reporters and complained on social media about his employer's lack of protective measures. His termination came after PeaceHealth threatened to let him go, and asked that Lin take down his posts criticizing the hospital, but he refused. It appears that there has been a reverse course as TeamHealth claims that they are looking to help him land a new job.
Lauri Mazurkiewicz, a former nurse for Chicago's Northwestern Memorial Hospital, has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit for complaining that the hospital wasn't providing adequate protective equipment. Her concern was primarily due to potentially contracting the coronavirus, and transmitting it to her father, who suffers from a respiratory disease. Since she cares for her father, Mazurkiewicz stressed the need for a proper mask so she didn't want to put her father at risk. She was fired.
The shortage of PPE for healthcare workers has been one of the biggest stories to emerge since the coronavirus pandemic first began. But with all the companies and celebrities pulling together in an effort to supply healthcare workers with the equipment they need, we could soon turn a corner.