At the First US Hospital Network to Knowingly Battle COVID-19, a Struggle Over PPE
22 Apr 2020
Early in January, Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, Washington ran an elaborate pandemic training simulation. Less than three weeks later, doctors and nurses there put what they learned into practice, when they admitted and treated the first confirmed COVID-19 patient in the U.S.
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Now, the hospital, like many others across the country, has faced not just the continuing coronavirus outbreak — but also a surging need for personal protective equipment, or PPE, for its staff. And as the new FRONTLINE documentary "Coronavirus Pandemic" reports, the hospital network’s leadership has taken matters into their own hands.
In the above excerpt, “desperation” leads Dr. Amy Compton-Phillips to roll up her sleeves and assemble hundreds of homemade face shields with members of her team, using materials scrounged from a half-dozen craft stores.
“I would rather offer our caregivers something than nothing,” the chief clinical officer and executive vice president for the Providence St. Joseph Health system tells FRONTLINE correspondent Miles O’Brien. “And at the moment, you know, if the choice is not having PPE or having homemade PPE, we’re going to offer them homemade PPE.”
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Funding for FRONTLINE is provided through the support of PBS viewers and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Major funding for FRONTLINE is provided by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Ford Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the Abrams Foundation, the Park Foundation, The John and Helen Glessner Family Trust, and the FRONTLINE Journalism Fund with major support from Jon and Jo Ann Hagler on behalf of the Jon L. Hagler Foundation.