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Charlotte County nurse who contracted COVID-19 claims hospital failed to protect

You can hear the frustration, sadness, and fear in their voices because they say a lack of personal protective equipment for health care workers could be the difference between life and death.

Working in health care is more than just a career, especially for Gary Mousseau, who has been a registered nurse for nearly four decades.

Mousseauis currently with Fawcett Memorial Hospital and says, “It stops being what you do, and it starts being who you are.”

Now, health care workers are on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mosseau knows first hand after contracting COVID-19, likely during one of his shifts at the hospital.

He said he was told that he was exposed to a presumptive positive coworker.

The long-time nurse says he’s not the only one. He claims, 14 nurses on a floor without coronavirus patients have tested positive.

“Our nurses are terrified. They feel as if they are just being treated like animals … If we don’t have the proper PPE and our patients are not being screened correctly, that means they are at risk,” Mosseau added.

The problem is nationwide. Health care workers at 139 hospitals across the U.S. are holding “May Day” protests Friday, demanding change, and more protective equipment.

Fawcett said in a statement: “In addition, we provide cleaned hospital scrubs each shift for colleagues who care for COVID-19 patients to help prevent potentially carrying the virus home on clothing. While our hospital currently has adequate supplies of PPE, we continue to provide safeguards that are consistent with CDC guidelines and help ensure the protection of our colleagues, not only today, but into the future as the pandemic continues to evolve.”

But Fawcett tells us it has adequate supplies of PPE, provides clean scrubs for healthcare workers to wear home.

The hospital goes on to say: “Meanwhile, this union is trying to exploit the crisis to advance its own interests — organizing more members” and that the union is using this an opportunity to attract more members.

Fawcett nurses say they’re working hard to stay safe and save lives.

Mousseau said, “It’s been up to the nurses to do the best they can.”

These nurses say they’ve approached Fawcett management, and the CEO for information on response plans, only to receive vague answers.

Below is the full statement from Fawcett Memorial: 

“Since the onset of this global pandemic, which has strained the worldwide supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), our goal has been to protect our frontline clinicians and caregivers so they are able to continue to care for our patients and community. Meanwhile, this union is trying to exploit the crisis to advance its own interests—organizing more members. We are proud of the support our hospital is providing to our nurses who exhibit amazing courage every day in meeting the challenges of this health crisis. Our efforts to protect our colleagues while at work and at home include:

  • A universal masking policy implemented in March requiring all staff in all areas to wear masks, including N95s, in line with CDC guidance
  • Screening for all patients, visitors and staff before entering facilities
  • For colleagues with reduced hours due to the pandemic, we instituted a pandemic pay program that continues to pay colleagues with reduced hours 70 percent of their pay for up to 7 weeks

In addition, we provide cleaned hospital scrubs each shift for colleagues who care for COVID-19 patients to help prevent potentially carrying the virus home on clothing. We are also working with major hotel chains to provide housing for caregivers who provide care to COVID-19 patients and prefer not to go home to their loved ones after their shift. While our hospital currently has adequate supplies of PPE, we continue to provide safeguards that are consistent with CDC guidelines and help ensure the protection of our colleagues, not only today, but into the future as the pandemic continues to evolve.”

 

Reporter:Erika Jackson
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