NEWPORT BEACH (CBSLA) — As more city officials encourage people to wear protective face masks as cases of COVID-19 grow, some health care professionals are concerned the same precautions are not being taken in medical offices.
Dr. Gigi Kroll is concerned that it is not yet mandatory to wear a mask at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach where she works as an OB-GYN.
“Rather than be told to be quiet and that I need to back down, I was like I’m going to speak my voice,” Kroll said.
When Dr. Gigi Kroll walked the Labor and Delivery Floor Thursday, she said many nurses were not wearing masks. She believes there should be a universal masking policy to protect patients and staff.
“We have data showing case reports where patients that have been brought in for induction of labor, and this is out of New York just recently, 37 weeks full-term.They were asymptomatic, they were not screened for COVID because we don’t have testing,” Kroll said.
“Postpartum — Two cases where they developed COVID-19 symptoms, both ended up in the ICU. Fifteen health care workers that cared for those patients had to be quarantined,” she said.
Dr. Kroll and other colleagues said they want to be sure that everyone is protected.
“I went in yesterday at Hoag…there were probably 20 different RN’s, lactation consultants, physical therapists,” said Pediatrician Dr. Steven Abelowitz. “The only three people wearing masks were myself and my two pediatricians.”
Some, but not all Orange County hospitals, now have universal masking policies but Hoag Hospital, citing guidelines from the CDC and the World Health Organization, doesn’t have a mandatory mask policy.
In a letter to medical staff Hoag Hospital said, “We certainly are not discouraging the use of masks at your discretion. We wish to reassure you that masks and other appropriate PPE are available at the nursing stations in all patient care units.”
“Many of the nurses that I did talk to told me that their supervisors would give them a hard time if they chose to wear a mask and encouraged them not to wear a mask,” said Kroll.
Patient Tiffany Hill, who is 22 weeks pregnant, said, “It’s not a time to be taking risks…all of the pregnant women are exceptionally nervous about it and i think we’d rather take the extra precaution because it’s not just our lives that we’re handling right now, but the lives of our unborn children too.”