KEY POINTS

  • Hospitals are firing doctors and nurses who inform the public of lack of PPEs or ventilators
  • Veteran doctor Ming Lin criticized his former hospital and lost his job
  • Some groups say that the muzzling of medical personnel is uncalled for

Some hospitals in the United States are apparently firing its medical frontliners for publicly sharing the problems they have encountered while treating coronavirus patients, such as the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), masks, ventilators, and even testings.

A hospital in Detroit has fired one of its nurses after she allegedly shared a 10-second video on social media a few weeks ago, where she talked about having no PPE or ventilators.

Nurse Kenisa Barkai of the Detroit Medical Center Sinai-Grace Hospital was reportedly told that she violated social media policy; hence she was let go from her job. Barkai, who was one of the nurses who helped treat Detroit's very first COVID-19 case, disagrees with the management's call.

DMC-Sinai-Grace said that it would not comment on matters regarding personnel. In a statement, the hospital said that they have been "working on ways to mitigate capacity issues by moving patients from hospital to hospital within our system."

Meanwhile, a veteran Washington emergency doctor also lost his job after he granted a media interview, where he talked about the lack of tests among medical personnel. Ming Lin criticized the PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center in a public post on Facebook, which was picked up by the press.

But a hospital spokesperson said that they would be implementing some of Lin's suggestions. When the doctor refused to retract his public post, he was fired from his job. Lin is now doing consultation work at a reservation hospital, but he recently made a plea in public.

"Please I ask that in a time of National Crisis we channel our energy toward helping our fellow citizen," the doctor wrote. "Protesting and showing animosity toward PeaceHealth is not the solution. Let’s not distract my fellow colleagues, co-workers and friends who need your support to take care of those less fortunate. We need to work together as a community."

Other healthcare workers across different states have also been warned by their hospital management that they will be terminated if they do media interviews without authorization.

The Washington State Nurses Association, however, is protesting the muzzling of healthcare workers amid the pandemic.

"Healthcare workers must have the ability to tell the public what is really going on inside the facilities where they are caring for COVID-19 patients," Ruth Schubert, the group's spokesperson, said.

NYU Langone Health spokesperson Jim Mandler, however, said that the media gag is there to protect the privacy of the patients and its staff.

“Because information is constantly evolving, it is in the best interest of our staff and the institution that only those with the most updated information are permitted to address these issues with the media," Mandler said.