Carmela Coyle, who represents California’s hospitals in the state Capitol, is a power player whose clout has grown during the pandemic. Though she hasn’t won every battle, she has helped shape the state’s response to the crisis.
Kaiser Health News gives readers a chance to comment on a recent batch of stories.
As covid patients flood California emergency rooms, hospitals are increasingly desperate to find enough staffers to care for them all. But some nurses worry hospitals will use the pandemic as an excuse to permanently roll back their hard-won nurse-patient ratios.
Many front-line health workers who have faced a perpetual lack of PPE and inconsistent safety measures believe the government and their employers have failed to protect them from covid-19.
Yolanda Coar was 40 when she died of COVID-19 in August 2020 in Augusta, Georgia. She was also a nurse manager, and one of nearly 3,000 frontline workers who have died in the U.S. fighting this virus, according to an exclusive investigation by The Guardian and KHN.
The National Academy of Sciences cites journalists’ “Lost on the Frontline” project in a push to expand federal tracking of worker fatalities.
At least 2,900 health workers have died since the pandemic began. Many were minorities with the highest levels of patient contact.
As nurses, we are on the frontlines in the war against COVID-19. Deemed healthcare heroes and recipients of nightly applause, the recognition is gratifying but cannot compensate for the risk inherent in our ethical obligation to care for patients, especially when recycled personal protection equipment is all we have. As of July 13, there were 98,150 COVID-19 cases and 521 deaths among healthcare workers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nurses deserve compensation commensurate with the hazards they endure.
Hospitals are in better shape now than in the spring, with more knowledge of how to handle COVID-19 and bigger stockpiles of protective equipment. Still, nurses worry about staffing shortages and unfilled jobs.
COVID-19’s toll weighs heavily on nurses, who can suffer stress and other psychological problems if they don’t believe they are able to help their patients sufficiently.