A Mid signs that a pandemic was about to grip the globe earlier this year, Australian Alison Thompson began receiving calls and messages from hospital staff across the US. Thompson, who lives in Florida, is well-known among doctors and nurses throughout the world for her humanitarian work at disaster sites, and now many were reaching out to her for help.
“They would ask, ‘Do you have any PPE?’” she says of the medical staff desperately seeking personal protective equipment amid a shortage of N95 masks and gloves as the COVID-19 crisis took hold. “One nurse was pleading to me, ‘Please, get them to me, I can’t not be protected.’ For them, it’s like walking into a room and someone’s holding a gun to your head.”
Thompson is on a mission to remove that threat. As the pandemic continues to plague the US, with 48,000 deaths from around 850,000 cases at the time of writing, the shortage of PPE has left many medical staff in the perilous position of tending to patients without proper protection. Though authorities are working to supply staff with equipment, Thompson says that some hospitals remain ill-equipped, leaving doctors and nurses reusing the same masks and gloves for weeks.
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May 11, 2020