'Like playing Russian roulette.’ – Nurse’s union rep says not enough PPE at St. Catherine’s, St. Charles
Michael Chacon, a registered nurse and representative for the New York State Nurses Association, says there is not enough protective gear to keep nurses safe at two Long Island hospitals.
“It’s like playing Russian Roulette,” he told News 12.
Chacon says nurses at Saint Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown and Saint Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson are sharing personal protective equipment and reusing masks for up to six days a week.
"You're walking into a patient…who has COVID-19 and you're cleaning them or you're providing some kind of treatment and you're walking out of that room with that same dirty gown and hanging that gown up,” says Chacon.
He says it's not uncommon for nurses to call him crying – fearful they may go home and contaminate their families. He says some of them want to share their stories with the public.
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Chacon says St. Catherine’s and St. Charles have gag orders on their staff and have been threatened with termination if they tell their stories to the media.
Catholic Health Services, which operates those facilities, has stopped speaking with the unions as well, and issued a letter on April 7 that says in part:
News 12 asked Catholic Health Services to participate in this story. It sent an email that said:
Chacon says the statement “couldn’t be further from the truth.”