Virginia hospital system bars workers from bringing their own medical equipment

Virginia hospital system bars workers from bringing their own medical equipment
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Inova, a medical system that operates hospitals in Northern Virginia, is banning employees treating coronavirus patients from wearing their own personal protective equipment (PPE) despite shortages in the hospital. 

In a statement to The Washington Post, Inova said that only “hospital-grade, quality-assured products” are approved by the system and it can not guarantee those standards from products employees bring from home.  

Employees who work at Inova Fairfax Hospital said the policy isn’t enforced uniformly and can cost them their job if they aren't compliant. 

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“It made me feel like I wanted to cry,” one employee told the Post. “It was either choosing between my safety or my job.”

Last week, three employees were told to either treat patients without the N95 masks they brought from home or leave. 

“They say they care about ‘your safety, your safety,’ but you have nothing better to do than try to take my own N95 mask away,” another employee told the Post. 

A constituent reached out to Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-Va.) last week, and the lawmaker said he reached out to Inova.

“We think employees must have the PPE they need and hospitals must adopt the guidelines that ensure PPE used protects patients and health-care workers,” Connolly said in a statement. 

The reports come as state and local officials scramble to acquire enough medical equipment to support the hospitals overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients. 

Last week a California hospital suspended a group of nurses after they refused to enter rooms where patients were being treated for the coronavirus without first getting N95 respiratory masks, the National Nurses Union told The Associated Press