Trump: Some hospitals and healthcare workers are 'hoarding equipment, including ventilators'

President Donald Trump said healthcare workers are hoarding ventilators and other hospital supplies during a March 29 meeting with supply chain distributors. 

"We do have a problem of hoarding. We have some healthcare workers, some hospitals, frankly — individual hospitals and hospital chains — we have them hoarding equipment, including ventilators," the president said. 

He said the hoarding of medical supplies in hospitals and health systems is no different than people hoarding certain products from grocery stores. 

He added that the Federal Emergency Management Agency and HHS have shipped or delivered 8,100 ventilators to hospitals across the U.S. and that in the next 100 days, the U.S. will make or acquire three times more ventilators than it typically does in a year because of the Defense Production Act. 

The president invoked the act March 27 and directed General Motors to make ventilators, though he didn't specify how many ventilators the government will order GM to produce.

President Trump's comments sparked backlash from medical professionals, who say they are doing everything they can to deal with shortages of personal protective equipment. 

Kenneth Raske, president of the Greater New York Hospital Association, said New York’s healthcare workers "deserve better than their President suggesting that PPE is 'going out the back door' of New York hospitals." 

"New York’s health care workers are treating exploding numbers of COVID-19 patients around the clock – willingly and without complaint. My daughter, an ICU nurse at a New York City hospital, is one of them. The only thing they ask for in return is adequate amounts of personal protective equipment. PPE is the single thing that separates them from being COVID-19 patients themselves," Mr. Raske said. 

Rob Davidson, MD, an ER physician at multiple Spectrum Health hospitals in Michigan and director for the Committee to Protect Medicare tweeted: "Accusing heroic healthcare workers in NYC of stealing #PPE and #ventilators is an all-time low from @realDonaldTrump."

Read the president's full address here


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