HCA Healthcare physician dies of COVID-19 after wearing same mask for weeks

An HCA Healthcare physician has died of COVID-19 after reusing her N95 mask for weeks, if not months, The Guardian reported. 

Adeline Fagan, MD, was a resident OB-GYN at HCA Houston Healthcare West who tested positive for COVID-19 in early July. 

In July, Dr. Fagan was working in the emergency department treating COVID-19 patients and, due to supply shortages, wore the same mask for "weeks and weeks, if not months and months," her younger sister told The Guardian.

CDC recommendations state an N95 mask should be reused five times at most. 

On Sept. 19, at the age of 28, Dr. Fagan became one of over 250 medical staff who died in Southern and Western hot spot states during a COVID-19 surge over the summer. One in three healthcare workers who have died of the virus nationwide had reported concerns of inadequate PPE, according to The Guardian. 

A national nurses union has complained of HCA Healthcare's alleged "willful violation" of workplace safety protocols, including pushing infected staff to continue working. 

HCA Healthcare told The Guardian it wouldn't comment on the allegation that inadequate PPE supply contributed to Dr. Fagan's death. 

"Our protocol, based on CDC guidance, includes colleagues turning in their N95 masks at the conclusion of each shift, and receiving another mask at the beginning of their next shift," a spokesperson said. 

Read the full article here.

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