(Meredith) - A Chicago nurse quit her job in an ICU filled with coronavirus patients because she claimed the hospital she worked for did not have enough face masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE).
Imaris Vera said she bought her own N95 mask to wear at work. It’s the respirator recommended by the CDC for healthcare professionals because it captures 95% of air particles when worn correctly.
But Vera alleges that her manager told her she wasn’t allowed to wear it, even when caring for a COVID-19 patient in an ICU unit that had been converted to a designated coronavirus unit.
Vera, who has more than three years of experience working in trauma, post-operative, cardiac, medical, surgical, and full-time critical nursing care, felt that she had no option but to quit her job.
She explained in an emotional Instagram video, uploaded on March 30, that she was trying to keep herself safe and looking out for “family members who have pre-existing conditions."
“I had my own N95 mask,” Vera says in the video. “I told my manager I understand we’re short on supplies. But let me protect myself. Let me feel safe. I have family that I have to come home to. And the way things are looking, this isn’t going to get any better. America is not prepared. And nurses are not being protected.”
She also claims that nurses who are treating COVID-19 patients aren’t wearing masks in the hallways of the hospital where she worked when giving reports, and that they have been instructed to reapply and reuse masks stored in brown paper bags after treating those patients.
Vera did not disclose the name of the hospital.
On April 1, she gave an update of her situation on Instagram, explaining that she hasn’t turned her back on nursing. She said wants to work at a healthcare facility where she'll feel safe.