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'I don't want to be the cause' | North Carolina nurse resigns amid PPE shortage

A nurse who worked in a nursing home and provides home health to pediatric patients said the lack of PPE prompted her to quit one of her jobs.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A North Carolina nurse said the shortage of protective equipment is forcing her to make tough decisions, including leaving her job at a nursing home.

“I’m mostly afraid for my patients, spreading it,” the nurse from Western North Carolina said. “I don’t want to be the cause.”

Up until this weekend, she worked at a nursing home, but also provides home care for already sick children.

“The children have cerebral palsy, some of them are on ventilators, some of them have chronic diseases,” she said of the patients.

The agency that employs her alerted employees two weeks ago of a shortage of supplies, according to a memo. She said the only mask she has was one given to her by a friend who’s an artist.

“It’s a really scary place to be as a nurse,” she said. “We are just desperate. I would like to see proper protection.”

Volunteers are starting a drive for personal protective equipment (PPE), partnering with Atrium Health, Novant Health and the Mecklenburg County Health Department to collect donations around Charlotte this week. 

Dr. Sheila Natarajan said since it’s unclear whether most people are negative or positive for COVID-19, every practitioner needs the proper PPE.

“The risk of having a provider exposed right now is so great,” she said. “The shortage is affecting the hospitals hugely, but the neglected little stepchildren on the side are the outpatient clinics, the nursing homes, where their shortage is even more severely felt because a lot of the smaller clinics don’t necessarily have the same supply chain access that the larger systems do.”

The first donations will be accepted on Thursday and Saturday from 12 p.m to 4 p.m. at the Goodwill on 5301 Wilkinson Boulevard in Charlotte and the Goodwill on 16025 Lancaster Highway in Ballantyne.

You can find more about the effort here.


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