Blog | Friday, April 10, 2020

PPE is a massive problem


I was shocked to receive an email from a friend with a story that sent chills down my spine.

Everyone knows there has been a shortage of PPE (personal protective equipment) that puts health providers at risk of contracting the contagious COVID-19. On April 2 at the White House briefing it was reported that 200,000 N-95 masks were sent to New York and millions of masks and other PPE will be sent across the nation. When I received this email, I realized that response is totally inadequate.

The doctor referred to in this email is being kept completely anonymous because he fears his position would be impacted if the hospital or identifying information were known. Considering the recent firing of U.S. Navy Captain Crozier after he asked for help for his stricken men, this doctor is not being paranoid to want anonymity.

Read this plea and then ask yourself if we are doing enough.

“Dear Toni,

My brother is on the front line in _____________, and the hospital he is at is entirely COVID-19. They lost a doctor today and are losing patients daily, today, they lost a young _______year old with no co-morbidity.

They have no masks, no eye shields and no aprons. They are using garbage bags as protection. They are out of sanitizer as well. I shipped him some yesterday and am shipping more tomorrow for other staff at the hospital.

He has health problems himself and is resuscitating patients several times everyday, as I'm sure being at the frontlines yourself, you can well imagine.

He has an 8 year old child and we are all so scared for him and the others working long hours without any protection and full exposure.

We in the family are appealing to all our friends in the medical field to help us find supplies that we can ship to them at the hospital. Do you happen to have or know someone from whom we can get N-95s, aprons and eye shields? Any number will help, considering they have none now.

Thanks for listening and considering.”

I think this letter speaks for itself. I can attest to the authenticity.

This post originally appeared at Everything Health. Toni Brayer, MD, FACP, is an ACP Internist editorial board member who blogs at EverythingHealth, designed to address the rapid changes in science, medicine, health and healing in the 21st Century.