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As coronavirus spreads, VA medical facilities struggle with worker, equipment shortages
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Nurse practitioners fighting coronavirus need more protective equipment
Association of Nurse Practitioners president Sophia Turner says patients are stealing and hoarding supplies in hospitals in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, causing health care providers to improvise on how to protect themselves.
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As she treated patient after patient infected with the coronavirus at a Veterans Affairs medical center in New York City, Heather Espinal saw stark warning signs.
So many nurses had called in sick, she said, that the Bronx facility was woefully understaffed. It lacked specially equipped rooms for infected patients, she said, and didn’t have enough masks, gloves and other protective gear to guard against the spread of the highly contagious disease.
Espinal, 34, says she and her colleagues were told to do the best they could, using a single N95 face mask for an entire shift rather than getting a new one for each patient. In early April, she tested positive for COVID-19.
DEATHS OF DOCTORS, NURSES HIGHLIGHT CORONAVIRUS RISKS THEY RUN
“I definitely believe it was related to me being at work,” said Espinal, who was out sick for two weeks.