To the editor: Thanks to columnist Michael Hiltzik for calling out Providence St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica for its backward thinking. As a patient of Providence over the last 30 years and as a nursing instructor at that hospital, I have changed my views on ever choosing to be admitted there again.
The feeling that the hospital cares more about a doctor’s well-being than a nurse’s — at St. John’s, nurses said doctors were making their rounds wearing the far more protective N95 respirator masks — is like being gut-punched.
When nurses are sick, who takes care of the patients? Definitely not the doctors. If the COVID-19 unit operates like others, doctors frequently glance or just ask the patient how they’re doing. Then they go to the nurses’ station to ask for an update on how a patient’s lungs sound.
Nurses are in close proximity with patients 24/7, but physicians typically see patients for only a few minutes at a time. Clearly it’s the nurses who need the extra protection, not the doctors.
Marcy Bregman, Agoura Hills
The writer is a registered nurse.
To the editor: If nursing were a male-dominated profession, would nurses be ordered to treat COVID-19 patients without first being issued N95 masks? Would they be disciplined for demanding N95 masks before treating COVID-19 patients?
At this point, more than 9,000 U.S. health workers have been sickened with COVID-19, and nearly three-quarters are female.
Hospital administrators: Give your nurses N95 masks.
Deborah DeSilva, Carlsbad