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Nurse Gets Suspended After Buying Protective Supplies For Fellow Frontliners Using GoFundMe Money

Susie Steck

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  • Olga Matievskaya, a registered nurse in New Jersey’s Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, has been suspended after raising funds on GoFundMe and purchasing personal protective equipment for her fellow frontliners.
  • The hospital administrator made the decision after Olga started distributing “unauthorized protective gear.”
  • Other nurses have since revealed that the hospital only provides them with surgical masks and they’ve been instructed to reuse them for a week.

Out of desperation, 48-year-old nurse Olga Matievskaya, created a campaign on GoFundMe, to raise funds for the purpose of purchasing personal protective equipments (PPE) for her fellow nurses and medical staff. Matievskaya made that effort due to the lack of appropriate protective gear provided by their administrator in the Newark Beth Israel Medical Center.

Eventually, Matievskaya was able to raise more than $12,000 and she immediately purchased 500 surgical masks, 4,000 shoe covers, and 150 jumpsuits on eBay to protect themselves from contracting the dreaded virus while on duty.

However, instead of acknowledging her help, the hospital ended up suspending her for a week for “distributing unauthorized protective gears.”

The GoFundMe campaign that she created has since been disabled after Matievskaya announced that the “goal has been reached”.

MatievskayaShe, however, refused to comment regarding her suspension.

On the other hand, the hospital defended its decision explaining that bringing unauthorized gears into the facility can place their medical staff and patients at risk.

“We think it’s great that people donated money. However, we need to know what’s coming in (to the hospital). We need to know our patients are safe. We need to know that our staff is safe,” the hospital’s spokeswoman Linda kameteh told NJ.Com

Four other nurses from Newark Beth Israel eventually agreed for an interview with ProPublica under the condition of anonymity. They revealed about the “dire shortage” of protective gears in the hospital, saying the administration has failed “to provide the supplies they need” as they battle the coronavirus (COVID-19) . They also shared that the hospital does not give them N95 respirator masks that the CDC has recommended. They were only given a surgical mask, which they are asked to reuse for a week.

The nurses also said that they do not have enough gowns to protect them from infected patients. One of the the nurses, who works in the ICU, claimed that they are required to leave the same gown and hang it by the door of an infected patient’s room so the next nurse can use it. There was also time when there weren’t any gowns available that they were forced to wear a combination of patient gowns and bed sheets.

We understand this is what we signed-up for. Just provide us with sufficient (protective equipment) we we can give these patients the optimal care that they need, and so we aren’t contaminating others or ourselves,” the nurse lamented.

Rutgers School of Nursing clinical associate professor Aline Holmes that she was surprised about how Newark Beth Israel addressed the issue by suspending Matievskaya. Holmes stressed that hospitals that require their medical staff to reuse their supplies are in violation to U.S. infection control standards.

Holmes also added that the nurses and other medical staff have the right to protect themselves. In case the hospital cannot provide the necessary supplies, they have the right to purchase their own, especially during these challenging times when coronavirus has spread widely in the United States.

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