Doctors, nurses and other health workers have been urging people to donate protective gear, such as respiratory masks, gowns, and eye gear.
As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases has been growing exponentially, medical professionals are facing shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as N95 facemasks, surgical gowns, eye gear, medical face shields, and nitrile exam gloves.
It has been found that many anxious people have purchased huge supplies of protective gear, especially facemasks, over the last several weeks.
And now, desperate healthcare professionals across the nation, who are in dire need of this gear to protect themselves while handling patients, have taken to social media platforms to beg people to donate the much-needed supplies.
They started a campaign with the hashtag #GetMePPE to urge people to donate the protective gear.
On March 19, Harvard Emergency Medicine resident Dr. Chris Bennett tweeted, I’m lucky, @VP [Vice President Mike Pence]. I got the last pair of googles in the ER for today. It’s 9AM. #GetMePPE.”
Los Angeles-based Pediatrician Dr. Rebecca Mandel wrote, “This is me in the 1 (one) N95 mask I have to see patients in our suburban LA pediatric office. Sprayed it with Lysol tonight and hung it to dry to reuse in the morning.”
ER doctor at Brown/Rhode Island Hospital Dr. Megan Ranney tweeted,” This is what hospitals are currently doing to try to keep staff healthy: Stapling elastic bands on expired procedural masks. Horrified? Yep, so am I.”
“We are running out of N95s so have to re use them, and for now covering them with surgical masks. but we will soon run out of them too,” wrote Dr. Kristen Collier from the University of Michigan.
Registered Nurse Amy Ruth Silverman said, “PPE under lock and key. This is all our nurses get to protect themselves. These are single use surgical masks. We’re wearing them for days or weeks. We can’t save your life if we can’t protect our own.”
Dr. Esther Choo, an emergency physician at the Oregon Health & Science University started the campaign #GetMePPE on March 17.
She urged medical professionals to tweet photos of themselves with the protective gear they need to fight the ongoing outbreak. She even asked them to tag Vice President Mike Pence, who is leading the White House coronavirus task force. In addition. Dr. Choo advised them to tag the members of Congress to encourage national action on the pandemic.
On Thursday, St. Charles Health System in Central Oregon released a statement in which the officials have urged people to donate everything from N95 respirator masks to surgical gowns to rubbing alcohol and even aloe vera gel.
Chief Operating Officer of St. Charles Health System Iman Simmons said, “Our supplies are running critically low and there doesn’t appear to be much relief in sight. Our vendors are unable to deliver on our orders and the state’s stockpile is depleted.”
“We are taking advantage of every opportunity we have to safely conserve PPE,” Simmons added. “But there’s simply no getting around the fact that we need more supplies — and we need them soon.”