One week after National Nurses United alleged that the nation’s hospitals are ill-prepared to deal with the coronavirus, a nurse at Desert Regional Medical Center claims that is the case at the Palm Springs-based hospital. A Desert Care Network spokesperson, however, hospitals in the network have taken the appropriate steps and have trained professionals and the necessary equipment to react accordingly
National Nurses United is the largest and fastest-growing union and professional association of registered nurses in the United States, with more than 150,000 members nationwide.
The local nurse is not being identified by name or gender for fear of retaliation.
“Hospitals are not ready and it pisses me off that officials are talking to administration and the health department,” the Desert Regional Medical Center nurse claims. “They did not talk to the nurses, the ones that are taking care of these patients without proper supplies.”
The allegations are gathering momentum in the form of a rally. “Protect Our Healthcare Workers,” is planned for Sunday, March 15 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Desert Regional Medical Center, 1150 N. Indian Canyon Way.
The rally is designed to show support for our healthcare works and make sure that every protection is being afforded to them. Attendees are encouraged to show up with signs, wearing protective gear, masks, and HAZMAT suits.
Bill Holzhauer, one of the rally organizers, told Uken Report, “We are rallying because I have first-hand knowledge that Desert Regional Medical Center has limited supplies for nurses and healthcare providers. The supplies are under lock and key. They have suspected (coronavirus) cases there and they are not clearing halls when moving patients. This puts health workers at risk as well as people in the halls. So, we rally to ensure our first responders, healthcare providers and patients are protected. They should people over profit.”
Other rally organizers are Yasmin Espinoza and Yolanda Brown.
The nurse who helped spark the rally also alleges that Desert Regional Medical Center is keeping surgical masks locked up because they disappear.
“We don’t have any to wear on the floor which many nurses like to wear because we get lots of respiratory patients or sometimes wear during wound care,” the nurse said. “Some nurses have been forced to care for influenza patients without surgical masks and some suspected Coronavirus patients. They are forcing staff to work with droplet precautions instead of airborne precautions. They should have an N95 mask and goggles/face shield.”
The nurse further claims the hospital doesn’t have enough isolation rooms with negative air pressure. She also alleged that tests are being delayed.
“That is my issue with them continuing with these big events. We aren’t prepared enough as it is.”
The 2020 BNP Paribas has since been canceled. Coachella and Stagecoach have both been postponed.
Krista Deans, a spokeswoman for the Desert Care Network, declined to specifically address the nurse’s claims regarding surgical masks, number of isolation rooms, and other allegations. She spoke in broader terms.
“Desert Care Network is monitoring information from federal, state and local public health agencies for current information on the coronavirus. Our hospitals have taken the appropriate steps as we have trained professionals and the necessary equipment to react accordingly. As with any communicable disease, as our patients enter the hospitals in areas such as emergency department or registration, hospital staff are questioning all of their recent travel and detailing symptoms,” Deans told Uken Report. “We evaluate relevant symptom criteria and implement appropriate level of isolation, if required, without delay. Our clinical teams are in constant review of infection prevention processes and update patient screenings as recommended by the CDC.”
Deans said the Desert Care Network has changed the way its hospitals are accessed to further increase its efforts to protect patients, visitors and employees.
“We have created hand-sanitization stations and are limiting access points to our hospitals to fewer entrances and exits for closer monitoring and evaluation,” Deans said.
Testing is not conducted at our facilities, Deans explained.
“If a patient presents at our hospitals and meets CDC criteria, we work with our local health department and if appropriate, gather a sample for testing and provide it to a CDC appointed laboratory,” Deans said. “We follow CDC guidelines for identification and treatment of patients with suspected or confirmed cases of the coronavirus.”
Desert Care Network is committed to keeping our patients, our staff and our community safe, Deans added.
- Nurses in hallway: Shutterstock