SAN FRANCISCO, April 4 (Xinhua) -- American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) has called on government and the public to take action in providing sufficient personal protective equipment.
Without immediate action, limited supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators and other lifesaving equipment will cause greater loss of life and increase the toll from COVID-19, the association warned Friday.
Providing adequate protection and lifesaving equipment is crucial to changing the course of the COVID-19 crisis, according to California-based AACN, which represents more than half a million acute and critical care nurses, many of whom are caring for patients with COVID-19.
"The lack of availability of PPE represents a clear and present danger to nurses and other healthcare professionals caring for patients diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19," said Megan Brunson, president of the AACN board of directors.
"The failure to provide the necessary PPE to nurses and our healthcare colleagues puts the entire healthcare system at risk," Brunson said. "Working without this equipment places nurses, physicians, respiratory therapists and others at an inordinately high risk to contract the virus."
AACN suggested that the federal government immediately use its authority to enact the full Defense Production Act and order the rapid production and distribution of PPE, businesses donate any excess PPE inventory to hospitals and other healthcare settings, and manufacturers able to produce PPE begin to act right now to help increase the inventory nationwide.
AACN President-elect Elizabeth Bridges said, "This pandemic is quickly depleting supplies and causing staffing shortages. We have rapidly moved from contingency planning to a crisis orientation, and the peak of the national surge in patients is still to come."