Three nurses who have worn bin bags in place of personal protective equipment (PPE) on their shifts, due to a shortage of supplies, have reportedly all tested positive for coronavirus
Just weeks ago, three NHS nurses shared a photo of themselves wearing the clinical waste bags as they pleaded in the social-media post for proper masks, gowns and gloves at Northwick Park Hospital, in Harrow.
The hospital had previously declared a state of emergency after all of the facility’s critical care beds were all in use by patients. Over 50% of staff working on one ward at the hospital have now tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Daily Telegraph.
The nurses said in March that they had to ‘use their initiative’ by wearing the clinical waste liners, as they had ‘no other choice’ due to the lack of available PPE in the UK.
One nurse said that they desperately needed more suitable equipment, and described how they were already having to treat their hospital colleagues after they had contracted the coronavirus from their patients.
she went on to say:
“There are so many younger people here on ventilation – many with asthma, or diabetes. They can’t stop coughing, they just cough and cough and cough and they can’t help it – but there’s little we can do apart from try to help them breathe.”
“Sometimes the body just gives up, and they die. We can’t save them. The worst part is that we can’t allow their relatives in to say goodbye.”
Speaking on herself and other nurses, she said inside they were all ‘terrified’, but were putting on ‘brave smiles’, many of them have been avoiding families in fears that they could pass on COVID-19 to them.
Dame Donna Kinnair, Royal College of Nursing’s chief executive and general secretary, has said that nurses are currently being forced to share PPE amongst themselves while working on the front-lines of the pandemic.
In a letter to parliamentary health committee chairman Jeremy Hunt, she said:
“Our safety and ability to care for patients is being fundamentally compromised by the lack of adequate and correct supplies of vital personal protective equipment and the slow and small-scale roll-out of Covid-19 testing.”
‘Our members are facing impossible decisions between their own or their family’s health and their sense of duty.’
A spokesperson for the Healthcare NHS Trust that runs Northwick Park Hospital, has confirmed that staff members at the hospital had indeed tested positive for COVID-19 ,but have not yet released an official number.
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