Fired Mercy Hospital Nurse Alleges Retaliation for Speaking Out About Lack of Masks While Treating Coronavirus Patients

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A former nurse at Mercy Hospital alleges she was fired after she expressed concerns that the hospital didn’t provide adequate protections for staff members treating coronavirus patients.

Regina Haglund filed a discrimination charge March 26 against the hospital with the Chicago office of the National Labor Relations Board. She was was fired March 25, allegedly for retaliation after she spoke up about the lack of protective masks, the filing states.

According to the seven-page filing, Haglund was working in triage for the hospital March 22 and saw a patient who presented with coronavirus symptoms.

The patient wasn’t given a mask because there weren’t any suitable ones in the triage area, and the patient coughed twice on Haglund, the filing states. The person was placed in isolation, and Haglund said she has not been told the patient’s test result.

Haglund had to reuse the same paper mask because of a shortage, and she was worried about contracting the virus and spreading it to her 8-year-old son, who was being cared for by her elderly mother while Haglund was at work, the filing states.

The paper mask had become moist from over use, the filing states. On March 23, Haglund decided to wear a mask she bought online over the paper one.

About six hours into her shift, Haglund’s manager told her she might be violating hospital policy by wearing a second mask and was sent home, the filing states.

Haglund spoke to the hospital’s nursing administrators and discovered more masks locked away in a manager’s office that were not being made available, the filing states. She explained to administrators she was scared for herself, her co-workers and her patients.

Last week, a nurse at Northwestern Memorial Hospital filed a lawsuit alleging she was fired after expressing similar concerns to her coworkers.

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