NYC nurse who complained about lack of PPE told to ‘shut the f–k up’

By Gabrielle Fonrouge

The Mount Sinai nurse who sounded the alarm about an inadequate supply of PPE by posting a photo of her colleagues wearing trash bags for gowns was called a “piece of s–t” and told to “shut the f–k up” by a top rep in her own union, emails show.

Diane Torres, 33, a registered nurse at Mount Sinai West Hospital who posted the now-viral photo on Facebook, was begging for supplies and information back in February but was continually rebuffed by hospital management, emails she sent to her union reps show.

By mid-March, Torres was infuriated by the continued lack of gear and that she wasn’t receiving adequate help from the union, so she posted the photo of her colleagues wearing the makeshift, Hefty-fashioned protective garb.

“NO MORE GOWNS IN THE WHOLE HOSPITAL,” Torres, a mom of three, wrote in the post.

When Torres’ picture got out and made it on the front page of The Post, New York State Nurses Association boss Terry Alaimo slammed her in an email to multiple union members and claimed her outcry was baseless.

“Diane is full of shit and has no F–king [idea] what is really going on … Tell Diane to shut the f–k up and if she has an issue to call me. She is not helping and I am sure she is not working. She is a useless piece of sh-t,” Alaimo, an NYSNA area director for the Mount Sinai System, wrote in the email obtained by The Post.

“Feel free to share,” Alaimo wrote at the end of the email.

Torres, who’s been toiling on the front lines of the crisis for the last two months and previously served as an elected union delegate, said, “How dare she?”

“I’m useless because I’m trying to do whatever I can to help us? Because I’m afraid, because I’m concerned for my co-workers, for myself, for my family members?” Torres railed.

“They were angry at me because I was trying so hard. How could someone be so angry at me and hate me so much for trying to do the right thing during such difficult times?”

Torres claims she was given a single mask, gown and face shield that she was forced to use for the entire shift, even as she treated non-COVID patients in her acute rehabilitation unit.

“Prior to COVID, everything that comes into contact with the patient that’s contagious cannot leave that room and cannot be used on anyone else. Every piece that you’re wearing needs to be thrown out, it was never made or meant to be reused,” Torres said.

But once the pandemic hit, Torres had to take off the gear, hang it up, and then put it back on repeatedly as she switched between COVID and non-COVID patients, which put her and patients at risk, Torres said. She sent photos to The Post from March 26 showing her gown hanging up as she made rounds between patients.

“We became ‘unknown’ vectors of the virus and are spreading it to those we were suppose [sic] to keep healthy,” Torres told a union rep back on March 18, text messages show.

Mount Sinai Hospital said in a statement that Torres’ allegations are “not accurate” and “anyone moving from COVID to non-COVID always had to replace PPE to ensure no patients or areas were contaminated” and they “always follow CDC guidelines and policies.”

She added it was a “constant battle” to get supplies and when she requested them, she had to give an explanation as to why she needed them.

Alaimo, who earned $162,870 last year in her role, according to public records, also asked about the “absolute minimum PPE” nurses needed, even as a slew of health care workers were getting sick and dying from the virus, messages from Alaimo show.

https://nypost.com/2020/05/11/nurse-who-complained-about-lack-of-ppe-told-to-shut-the-f-k-up/

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