OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) - As doctors and nurses continue to be on the frontlines of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, KFOR has received emails from several viewers accusing hospitals of refusing to let healthcare workers wear masks while dealing with patients.
“Now there’s just a massive overwhelming feeling of distrust," one nurse told KFOR. "If they’re not willing to protect our lives at a fundamental level, what are they willing to do?"
The nurse spoke with KFOR on the condition that we hide their identity because they are afraid of losing their job. The nurse is also afraid of losing their health because they say they are not allowed to use masks while working with patients.
“Friday afternoon, I called my financial investment guy and I doubled my life insurance policy. Just because I have kids at home," the nurse said. "If it’s a forgone conclusion that I will be positive at some point, I don’t have the kind of guarantee that I will be OK.”
KFOR did reach out to INTEGRIS regarding these claims.
Chief Nurse Executive at INTEGRIS Health Kerri Bayer, MSN, sent us this statement:
"All caregivers have been provided appropriate PPE to take care of their patients safely based on their care setting. At this time, we have not supported utilization of PPE that is not medical grade unless it has been approved and deemed safe by the INTEGRIS System Incident Command. We understand there is concern and real fear surrounding COVID-19, therefore our clinical and infection prevention teams are actively discussing a solution to expand PPE usage for our caregivers.
We are providing PPE to our caregivers that provides evidence-based protection while they provide care. At this time, we have not supported utilization of PPE that is not medical grade unless it has been approved and deemed safe by the INTEGRIS System Incident Command.
Our number priority, always, is the safety of our patients and caregivers. This stands true in the face of a pandemic more than ever.
The masks being provided to patients and their families are the hand-sewn masks donated from the community. These are not medical grade and therefore not approved for use by our caregivers.