Russian Nurse Suspended for Visiting Patients in Transparent PPE

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(— May 21, 2020) —  Healthcare workers treating patients with infections such as coronavirus (COVID-19) are at a high risk of infection themselves, so they wear personal protective equipment (PPE) to shield themselves from prolonged exposure to infected patients.

The PPE, however, can be very uncomfortable to wear.

A nurse in Russia was suspended after she allegedly went to visit patients wearing a transparent PPE under which she had only underwear, Russian Tulan News tweeted.

It was too hot for me to wear a suit underneath,” said the 20-year-old nurse, against whom disciplinary proceedings have been initiated.

Her superiors first said that she was wearing nothing but underwear under her protective suit, and then they corrected their statement saying that it was a “bathing suit” after all.

One patient told local media in the Tula region that patients did not protest, although they admit it was “a little uncomfortable” when she showed up.

There are also those who support her, agreeing it is not her fault the air-conditioning system was off and the PPE was transparent.

“Well done, girl! At least you raised the mood of the patients,” reads one comment, and another adds: “Everyone stood up against this girl, and the hospital management should understand that it is not easy for doctors and nurses to work in all that equipment while the air conditioner does not work”.

Covering more of the body leads to better protection. However, as this is usually associated with increased difficulty in applying and removing the PPE, and PPE is less comfortable, a healthcare web portal Cochrane reports.

There were no studies that investigated goggles or face shields, the reports said, emphasizing the problem of removing PPE after use. 
“We are unclear about the best way to remove PPE after use and the best type of training in the long term,” the report says.

The portal urged hospitals to organize more studies, and researchers to test personal protection equipment handling.

The report concluded that PPE tests need to use exposure to a harmless virus to assess which type and combination of PPE are most protective.

Also, the report urges hospitals to keep track of the type of PPE used by their workers to provide urgently needed, real-life feedback.