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Health care workers on the front lines of the COVID crisis have spent exhausting months working and self-quarantining off-duty to keep from infecting others, including their families. Encountering people who indignantly refuse face coverings can feel like a slap in the face.
A nursing aide who kept to himself and “was just work, work, work.” Another nursing aide who beamed when talking about her four children, all of whom work in health care. These are the people just added to “Lost on the Frontline,” a special series from The Guardian and KHN that profiles health care workers who died of COVID-19.
As health workers were dying of COVID-19, federal work-safety officials filed just one citation against an employer and rapidly closed complaints about protective gear.
Health care workers report understaffing, long hours and protective equipment shortages at HCA Healthcare hospitals.
The messaging from the White House coronavirus press briefings is becoming more confusing as President Donald Trump and his science advisers appear to not see eye to eye. Meanwhile, Congress is ready to approve more money to address both the health and economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. And the virus is taking an almost unimaginable toll on the nation’s nursing homes and putting strain on patients and health care providers with non-COVID ailments. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Jennifer Haberkorn of the Los Angeles Times and Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these topics and more.
Labor unions have called for the agency to issue an emergency standard that would define what steps employers must take to protect their workers from the coronavirus. It has not done that, although it offered guidance that it said does not create a “new legal obligation” for employers.
Former officials from the federal agency criticize OSHA for a slow and timid response to a “worker safety crisis of monstrous proportions” unfolding in hospitals, nursing homes.
Francisco Díaz ordinarily works educating seniors about their diabetes, but he has moved to the emergency room, on the front line in the battle against coronavirus. He said his Latino background helps him communicate with the many Spanish-speaking patients and understand their culture.
Many states are dramatically loosening regulations on nurse practitioners as the coronavirus pandemic increases demand for health care workers. But not California.
Martha Phillips traveled to Sierra Leone during the Ebola epidemic in 2014 to serve as a nurse. Now, she’s working on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, advising her colleagues on how to stay safe.
Nurse Divina “Debbie” Accad had cared for veterans for over 25 years and was set to retire in April. But after contracting the novel coronavirus, she spent her final 11 days on a ventilator — and didn’t survive past March.
Daisy Doronila had a different perspective than most who worked at the Hudson County Correctional Facility, a New Jersey lockup 11 miles from Manhattan. It was a place where the veteran nurse could put her Catholic faith into action, showing kindness to marginalized people.
The military is called to action to battle the pandemic, even as the numbers of people infected among its ranks and veterans climb amid a shortage of doctors and nurses.
Nurse Vianna Thompson, 52, spent two night shifts caring for a fellow Veterans Affairs health care worker who was dying from COVID-19. Two weeks later, she too was lying in a hospital intensive care unit, with a co-worker holding her hand as she died.
Jeff Baumbach, 57, was a seasoned nurse of 28 years when the novel coronavirus began to circulate in California. He’d worked in the ER, the ICU and on a cardiac floor. Hepatitis and tuberculosis had been around over the years but never posed a major concern.
Lack of protective gear and fears about all the unknown aspects of COVID-19 are parts of the mosaic of stress facing doctors and nurses on the front lines of the pandemic.
Revenue is way down for primary care, specialty physicians and some hospitals as patients avoid non-urgent visits. Practices small and large are doling out layoffs and furloughs to staff.
As they prepare for an onslaught of coronavirus patients, health officials in New York and other states urge retired medical professionals to rejoin the ranks.
As illness from the new coronavirus stresses the health care system, nurses said they are being forced to make do with less and learning to be good stewards of available equipment and protective gear.
California physicians dealing with COVID-19 offer a sobering portrait of a health care system bracing for the worst of a pandemic that could be months from peaking.