'Someone please help us.' Nurses beg for more protection

For the second time this week, nurses in the Hudson Valley are speaking out to say they don't have what they need to protect themselves as they try to care for so many suffering from the coronavirus.

News 12 Staff

Apr 9, 2020, 10:02 AM

Updated 1,510 days ago

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More health care workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic in Westchester are begging for more protection for themselves.
For the second time this week, nurses in the Hudson Valley are speaking out to say they don't have what they need to protect themselves as they try to care for so many suffering from the coronavirus.
Nurses rallied outside Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla Thursday to talk more about what they say they need to feel safe.
Earlier this week, nurses from Yonkers hospitals spoke out, saying they needed more to protect themselves as they treat COVID-19 patients.

Nurses at Westchester Medical say they are understaffed, and are demanding more ventilators, greater access to N95 masks and other personal protective equipment - also called PPE.
The nurses claim the center is rationing PPE for health care workers who are taking care of coronavirus patients. They also say the hospital is lacking in other areas such as not having enough of what they call negative pressure rooms, which is an isolation technique used to prevent cross-contamination from room to room, or enough special air filters for the COVID-19 area that are designed to remove more than 99% of airborne particles.
A total of 1,500 nurses work at the Westchester Medical Center, and 20% are out sick, according to the NY State Nurses Association.
"They wear cloth, a yellow gown made of cotton, and then they get a pair of gloves and they're told to go to these rooms. I want to ask you guys, would you go in the room? Well, they are and they're saving lives and helping their patients every day. Someone, please help us! That's all we want," says Westchester Medical Center Nursing Supervisor Brigid Castellano.
In a statement, the hospital says a professional and safe-care environment is its No. 1 priority. It says that like every other health care organization in America, it is managing its supply of PPE, and that it does have adequate supplies. The hospital added that it is monitoring the situation and is following CDC guidelines.
The nurses are calling on the state to send more supplies and nurses to Westchester Medical Center. They're also calling on the federal government to use the Defense Production Act to increase PPE supplies. 
 
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