Healthcare workers battling the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic are on the front lines in an unprecedented event in human history. As physicians race to save lives they should not be fearful of losing their jobs for speaking out about access to personal protective equipment, or for supplementing what their employers give them with personal supplies.
Due to the current national shortage of PPE, some of our members have resorted to using personal equipment (N-95 masks, respirator masks, CAPRs, PAPRs, etc.) in place of hospital-supplied PPE for various reasons (e.g.: conserving PPE for other staff or feeling the minimum PPE is not adequate).
As trained medical professionals, the individual physician has the ability and responsibility to determine what level of PPE is necessary to safely perform their job and care for patients. The presentation of SARS-CoV-2 varies by patient, and guidelines for best practices in utilizing PPE is changing daily.
The crisis, and the difficult position physicians are placed in, is sparking national outcry. Physicians must be supported and protected during this critical time.