Health care professionals who speak out about their working conditions during the coronavirus outbreak are being threatened with termination by their employers, and some have already followed through, according to a report from Bloomberg.
“Ming Lin, an emergency room physician in Washington state, said he was told Friday he was out of a job because he’d given an interview to a newspaper about a Facebook post detailing what he believed to be inadequate protective equipment and testing,” Bloomberg reports. “In Chicago, a nurse was fired after emailing colleagues that she wanted to wear a more protective mask while on duty. In New York, the NYU Langone Health system has warned employees they could be terminated if they talk to the media without authorization.”
After examining a hypoxic woman in her 50s with no medical problems who likely has COVID, I had to clean my single-use face shield that I’ve worn the past three days with disinfectant used to clean hospital beds since we ran out of sanitizing wipes #GetMePPE pic.twitter.com/85xQcmc1dN
— Ayrenne Adams, MD MPH (@AyrenneAdamsMD) March 28, 2020
Hospitals have always had strict guidelines when it comes to what employees can say to the media, but according to Ruth Schubert, a spokeswoman for the Washington State Nurses Association, the pandemic has ushered in a new era.
“Hospitals are muzzling nurses and other health-care workers in an attempt to preserve their image,” Schubert told Bloomberg. “It is outrageous.”
Health-care workers “must have the ability to tell the public what is really going on inside the facilities where they are caring for Covid-19 patients,” she added.
According to Glenn Cohen, faculty director of Harvard Law School’s bioethics center, it’s a good thing for health-care workers to be able to express their frustrations “especially when expressing that might get them better protection.”
Read the full report over at Bloomberg.