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Muzzling Doctors and Nurses on Coronavirus Shortages Is Reprehensible

50-Plus Groups Urge the American Hospital Association to Condemn Any Threats of Punishment

WASHINGTON - Attempts by hospital administrators to muzzle health care workers who speak out against coronavirus caseloads and supply shortages are appalling and reprehensible, 54 organizations, including Public Citizen, said in a letter today to the American Hospital Association (AHA).

During this global pandemic, it is critical that the public and government officials are fully aware of shortages in personal protective masks, mechanicals ventilators, hospital beds and other vital equipment. That way, appropriate steps can be taken to mitigate these shortages and protect the safety and welfare of health care workers and patients, the letter said.

“Trying to gag nurses and doctors, those on the front lines fighting this disease, is reprehensible and will only lead to more deaths,” said Dr. Michael Carome, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group and author of letter. “Such actions may be commonplace within authoritarian regimes, but they are not acceptable in the U.S.”

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The groups demand that the AHA publicly denounce any threats of disciplinary action for speaking out during this pandemic and call on its member hospitals to encourage health care workers to speak freely about coronavirus patient caseloads, dwindling hospital supplies and any other challenges that should be immediately addressed.

Read the full letter here.

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Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1971 to represent consumer interests in Congress, the executive branch and the courts.

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