Megan Ranney, an associate professor of emergency medicine, urged the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis to ramp up manufacturing and distribution of personal protective equipment.
In a US Congress briefing held virtually, a Warren Alpert Medical School expert urged federal lawmakers to ramp up the manufacturing and distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE) for essential workers and health care professionals on the front lines of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Megan Ranney RES’08 F’10 MPH’10, MD, an associate professor of emergency medicine and emergency physician at Rhode Island Hospital, addressed the nation’s legislative leaders on a panel of medical professionals, first responders, grocery store workers, drivers, custodians, and others who have provided essential services during the coronavirus pandemic.
The panelists offered testimony from their homes and offices as part of a Thursday, May 21, briefing titled “Heroes of the Coronavirus Crisis: Protecting Frontline and Essential Workers During the Pandemic.” They spoke at the invitation of the US House of Representatives’ Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, convened earlier this year from within the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.
In her remarks, Ranney shared details of her own experience treating COVID-19 patients, underscoring the challenging conditions that face medical workers and other essential service providers who face shortages of adequate PPE. At Rhode Island Hospital, staff began to stockpile PPE in January, as soon as the risk of an impending crisis became clear. By mid-March, as positive cases mounted in New England, they were running dangerously low on supplies, she said.
“The supply chain had completely dried up,” Ranney said. “Overseas manufacturing had been diverted to other hotspots like Italy. We internally had not ramped up our US production on time. I have innumerable colleagues across the country who have been infected—some have died.”
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Video from the briefing will be available for viewing at coronavirus.house.gov.