Ask Someone Else's Mom by Susan Writer

Coworkers Swipe PPE for Family and Friends

DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: I work in the housekeeping department of a hospital, and as much as I’d like to, I’ve never taken any of the PPE (personal protective equipment) for use outside of work. However, several of my coworkers do. I get why they do it, especially early on when it was nearly impossible to get masks and gloves, but now masks are everywhere, and we’ve been able to get gloves more easily than we were a few weeks ago, although we still keep running low on all PPE supplies.

Do you think this is a case where it’s not so bad to take things for the protection of those you love? It seems selfish in some ways, but isn’t it also justifiable? I am not going to blow any whistles, but I also can’t do what they do with a clear conscience. --- CAN’T BRING MYSELF TO JOIN IN

DEAR CAN’T BRING MYSELF TO JOIN IN: The short answer is it isn’t ever right to steal, but, like you, I can understand some of your coworkers’ thinking. People want to be protected and protect those they love.

However, healthcare workers and providers and first responders need to have priority access to PPE, especially if there’s still the danger of shortages of quality protective equipment. I say leave the needed supplies to the professionals, who are trained in their proper use and disposal.

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