President Trump: I'm a Nurse, and Yes I Do Have an 'Insatiable Appetite' for Medical Supplies
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC), as of April 2, there have been 213, 144 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States, and the numbers are still growing. As the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 continues to rise, hospitals in the United States continue to request additional supplies and aid from the U.S. Government.
Likely in response to this demand, on Thursday, President Trump posted two tweets, saying hospitals have “insatiable appetites” for medical supplies and are “never satisfied.” You can see his tweets below:
….have been stocked up and ready long before this crisis hit. Other states are thrilled with the job we have done. Sending many Ventilators today, with thousands being built. 51 large cargo planes coming in with medical supplies. Prefer sending directly to hospitals.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 2, 2020
As a nurse working on the front lines, I can confidently say: No, we are not satisfied. And we are insatiable — in our commitment to save lives, our responsibility to use science to prevent further deaths and our desire to be the best we can.
When I read the President’s tweet, at first glance, I got angry. But then I realized that I do agree with President Trump when he stated that we, medical professionals, have “insatiable appetites & are never satisfied.” We are always striving for safer conditions, superior equipment and better outcomes for our patients.
I am hungry for more personal protective equipment (PPE). Of course I am insatiable. And you would be too if you weren’t able to do your job with adequate protective equipment. Would you ask a firefighter to go into a burning building without protective gear? Would you ask a police officer to stand up to armed robbers without a bulletproof vest or a gun? So why is it fair that we are expected to continue to give the same care to our patients without adequate PPE?
President Trump also tweeted that “the complainers should have been stocked up and ready long before this crisis hit.” Yes. I agree. Hospitals should have been better stocked in case of such crisis. But, we medical professionals working on the front lines had no control over that. We, however, are the individuals caring for the adults left to die on their own due to visitor restrictions put in place by hospitals. We are the individuals who worry throughout our drives home if we scrubbed our arms enough or if we are potentially introducing a deadly virus into our homes. I had no control over the amount of N95 masks and surgical masks that my hospital had stocked up. But I do have control over my voice lobbying for more equipment now. And so, please hear my voice.
Although I am not arguing against the sentiment President Trump tweeted this morning, I do need to be clear that I did not appreciate the words coming from him. Who is he to tell us that we should stop complaining? I don’t see him air-hugging his kids goodbye as he gets dressed for work outside the house, worried about bringing his germ-filled shoes into his house. I don’t see him sleeping downstairs on the couch, afraid to get too close to his spouse. I don’t see him trying to put on reused one-time-use PPE as quickly as he can so he can run into the room of a patient needing suctioning to get the thick mucus out of his lungs, hoping to make it there in time before the patient’s peripheral oxygen levels decrease.
All I see is President Trump sitting in the comfort of the oval office, protected by everything he needs, telling America that health care workers are insatiable and the hospitals should have been better prepared. Thank you, President Trump, for stating the obvious. Now what are you going to do to help us?
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GettyImages photo via Samara Heisz