MNA president’s account of hospital conditions moves Biden to tears

When the president of the Minnesota Nurses Association talked about what front-line workers are facing during the pandemic, the president-elect listened — and wept.
Mary Turner participated in an online meeting with President-elect Joe Biden and other healthcare workers from around the country to get him up to speed on what workers are facing as the pandemic grows exponentially.
Turner is an ICU nurse at North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsdale and told Biden that nurses are feeling “extremely anxious” about the conditions inside and outside hospitals. She said a shortage of personal protective equipment and other supplies are leaving hospitals unprepared to care for COVID patients and those with other issues alike.
“The physical impacts of this virus have been devastating,” Turner told Biden and the other participants. “I myself have held the hands of dying patients, crying out for their family that they can’t see. I’ve taken care of co-workers as they fight for their lives on a ventilator and knowing they got sick because the hospital or their government hasn’t protected them.”
Turner added that “something is seriously wrong when nurses have to take to the streets to beg for protection,” she said, referring to demonstrations in Minnesota and other states by health-care workers desperate for PPE and other resources. “We’re not being given the protection that we need. We need to have optimal PPE for all staff to prevent airborne and droplet transmissions. We need testing of our workers and patients, and contact tracing and notification of exposure for healthcare workers.”
Biden blotted his eyes after Turner told him she had not yet been tested for the virus. “You’re kidding me,” Biden said. “You got me emotional.”
The meeting was one of many Biden has held to get first-hand information about what healthcare workers are facing in their workplaces. He acknowledged that the burden on the healthcare system is putting an “incredible strain on nurses.”
“We need to act now,” Turner said. “We need to act quickly to protect our healthcare workers so that we can save as many lives as possible.”

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