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San Lazaro Hospital nurses overworked, unprotected amid COVID-19 battle —group

The nurses in San Lazaro Hospital, a COVID-19 referral facility in Manila, remain to be overworked and underprotected as they battle with the unseen enemy, according to the Filipino Nurses United (FNU) on Friday.

In a statement, the FNU enumerated the supposed "physical, emotional, and mental" sufferings of medical frontliners working in San Lazaro as it pointed out that 40 of the hospital's personnel—doctors, nurses, administrators, aides, and other staff—have tested positive for COVID-19.

"Nursing staff and other health workers are treated as robots not [as] human being[s]," the group said.

"More than 40 employees are positive for COVID-19 as of today with more than 20 of those are admitted in the hospital COVID wards and others quarantined at home while waiting for vacancy of hospital beds to accommodate them," it added.

Further, the FNU lamented that the hospital's nursing staff members are allegedly provided with only one N95 mask for the whole 12-hour shift.

The situation has also prompted some doctors to buy their own personal protective equipment, according to the group.

The alleged expansion of COVID-19 beds in the hospital without additional health care workers to augment also led to the exhaustion of nurses.

The FNU said San Lazaro's administration "converted regular wards into COVID wards with no staff to man such" and compromised the nurse staffing by "decreasing the numbers of assigned nurses in other existing COVID areas to man the new ones."

On Thursday, San Lazaro Hospital's infectious disease head Dr. Rontgene Solante bared that 57 out of the 65 beds dedicated for COVID-19 cases are already occupied.

The nurses' group also complained of insufficient accommodation and transportation, as well as an out of order elevator that forces health workers to use ramps in transporting patients to different floors.

The insufficient stress debriefing for the overworked health workers is another thing, it added.

"The physical is exhausted while the morale is very low. Only empty words of appreciation from the government [were] given," the FNU said.

"The spirit was trampled in by the unjust provision and deceiving policy of the COVID hazard pay and special risk allowance," it added.

GMA News Online is reaching out to San Lazaro Hospital for comment on the issue as of posting time.—AOL, GMA News