Hospital workers are being fired and threatened for speaking out about medical equipment


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Angelica Tejada, Opinions Editor

As hospitals are trying to cover up their struggling image from the public by punishing workers who spoke up about the lack of medical equipment and threatening others from doing the same, these actions are limiting their free speech of the workers.

At PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham, Washington, Dr. Ming Lin worked in the emergency room and spoke to his superiors about the hospital’s management of COVID-19. Not satisfied with the conversation, Lin spoke out on social media.

“I do fear for my staff, I fear for the healthcare field…I don’t feel we are adequately prepared and that’s why I’m here,” Lin said in a YouTube video posted on March 26. “Morally when you see something wrong, I think you have to speak out and it may take some risk and sacrifices.”

After the video was posted, Lin was fired from the hospital. He was still praised for speaking out on social media and became an example for other medical workers in the same position to also speak out.

Lauri Mazurkiewicz, a nurse at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, was fired after speaking out about the hospital’s lack of medical protection and is now suing the hospital.

Mazurkiewicz “alleges that Northwestern required staff to wear a type of mask that is ‘less safe and less effective’ than the N95 model,” The Chicago Tribune reported. “In fact, she says, staff were specifically not allowed to wear the N95 mask on hospital grounds.”

Many hospital workers and other essential workers fear speaking up about the lack of medical and personal protective equipment within their work facilities because they have been threatened to comply or be fired.

“NYU Langone Health employees received a notice Friday from Kathy Lewis, executive vice president of communications, saying that anyone who talked to the media without authorization would be ‘subject to disciplinary action, including termination,’” Bloomberg News reported.

Hospitals are coronavirus hotspots right now during this health crisis and it is understandable why hospital workers are being mandated to not speak out about how their hospital is dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. However, it isn’t right to limit what someone can say, whether they are an employee or not, because that is a constitutional right.

If no one addresses the lack of medical equipment within hospitals, then the hospital will not receive the attention it needs to help everyone within the hospital stay safe from the spread of COVID-19. Media platforms want to hear from hospital workers and essential workers because they are the ones who are putting their lives on the line to help save others’ lives, and these essential workers need to be heard.

Kious Kelly was an assistant nurse manager at Mount Sinai West in Manhattan who died due to the coronavirus. His colleagues have spoken out on social media, stating that the hospital did not have adequate personal protective equipment for the hospital workers.

“A nurse who worked with Kelly said the hospital had offered nurses one plastic protective gown for an entire shift, though normal protocol required a change of gowns between interactions with infected patients,” The New York Times revealed.