A wave of hospital vigils, rallies and strikes are beginning to snake across the globe today, as 100,000 registered nurses press for greater protections for health care workers treating the deadly Ebola virus.
In Washington, DC, National Nurses United will hold a vigil and press conference outside of the White House later this afternoon, in conjunction with strikes and rallies at hospitals and federal buildings already taking place throughout the country. Similar events will also be held in Canada, Australia, Spain, Ireland and the Philippines, in what the organization is calling “Global Ebola Awareness Day.”
“The lack of concern for nurses and patients in a world where corporations have taken over our community health care has been magnified during this deadly Ebola crisis,” said National Nurses United Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro in a press release.
The push comes in the wake of news that health care workers being treated for the virus in New York and Texas are now Ebola-free. But the group still has lingering concerns over the quality of protections for health workers and the preparedness of U.S. hospitals if another case were to enter the borders.
The nurses are seeking full-body hazmat suits and powered air purifying respirators for all caregivers dealing with Ebola patients, as well as continuous and interactive training for health workers who might encounter the virus.
“Nurses are demanding patient safety. They are heroes,” DeMoro said. “Hospitals should be forced to spend the money on patient safety that they spend on public relations.”
Meanwhile, lawmakers returning to Capitol Hill on Wednesday kicked off the lame-duck session with the first in a string of several Congressional hearings to examine international efforts to combat Ebola and assess the administration’s emergency request for funding.