Medical Professionals Warn Against Supply Shortage, Urge Donations

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Doctors in San Diego are urging the public to drop off medical supplies. It's a sign of just how badly a shortage of supplies is impacting healthcare professionals.

NBC 7 spoke with doctors and clinic managers who said the shortage is already hitting them hard.

In fact, industry-wide there appears to be real worry about nurses and doctors' ability to protect themselves as they work around to clock to protect us.

The fact there is already a shortage of these supplies is distressing, as trajectories predict things will get much worse before they start to get better.

Dr. Georgine Nanos heads the Kind Health Group, a private clinic in Encinitas.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Nanos. “But none of us have in healthcare. This is unprecedented for everyone.”

"Unprecedented” - that's how she describes the shortage of medical supplies.

“It’s a really big concern,” saidNanos. “Our supplies are running short.”

Specifically, they're running short of gloves, facemasks, goggles, alcohol wipes, even hospital gowns.

When we asked Sonia Tucker, the chief quality officer for La Maestra Community Health Centers, what supplies her clinic lacked, her response spoke volumes.

"What are we lacking?” scoffed Tucker. “That’s a million dollar question.”

Tucker says it normally takes just 24 to 48 hours for their distributor to fill a request for new supplies. But now?

“We put in an order for new supplies three weeks ago and were still waiting for it," she said.

Over the last two months, shoppers have raided store shelves for face masks, gloves and sanitation wipes. Now healthcare workers must depend on the generosity of folks who have personal stashes at home.

“If you’ve purchased any of these things and you’re stockpiling them at home consider donating them to your hospital right now," Nanos said.

Medical professionals insist: masks and gloves will not protect the general public. They are meant for healthcare workers on the frontlines of fighting the virus.

“We as providers are doing our best to try to make sure we take care of the patients,” said Tucker. “We’re here. We’re not going home. We’re here to be able to serve everybody.”

Serving everybody - at a time when their own safety may soon be in question.

“If the healthcare workers become sick and quarantined, then we have a much bigger problem on our hands," Nanos said.

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