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Nurse Alleges Retaliation for Warning Staff About Unsafe Masks and Wearing Their Own Masks

Lauri Mazurkiewicz, an infectious disease nurse, filed a whistleblower lawsuit against her former employer, Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.  According to Mazurkiewicz, the hospital began accepting and treating patients diagnosed with COVID-19 in early March and instead of distributing N95 masks, which are effective at preventing the wearer from contracting the virus, the hospital provided staff with "less-effective" masks. As a result, Mazurkiewicz sent an email on March 18th warning employees and supervisors that N95 masks were more effective than the masks distributed by the hospital. Mazurkiewicz claims she arrived at work the next day wearing her own N95 mask and was fired. Mazurkiewicz said several days ago, she started not feeling well and had some symptoms of COVID-19, but she tested negative for the virus.

A Northwestern Memorial representative said in statement, "As Northwestern Medicine continues to respond to this unprecedented health care pandemic, the health and well-being of our patients, our staff and our employees is our highest priority. We take these matters seriously and we are currently reviewing the complaint. At this time, we will not be commenting further."