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Doctor says she quit over unsafe conditions at Alpena hospital

News Photo by Crystal Nelson Dr. Ann Victory is pictured speaking during a news segment on CBS “This Morning” which aired on Friday.

ALPENA — A former MidMichigan Medical Center-Alpena doctor told CBS’s “This Morning” she quit because working conditions at the hospital were unsafe and personal protective equipment was not being used properly.

Dr. Ann Victory, who quit the hospital on Dec. 3, said in a segment that aired on Friday the hospital failed to use the right precautions, putting hospital employees and patients at risk. Victory, whom The News couldn’t reach for comment, also told CBS the hospital didn’t test employees for COVID-19 and employees were getting sick.

“I said, ‘I can’t do this. This is an unsafe situation and I can’t continue to be here,'” she said in the televised interview. “I wanted the hospital to be a safe place for patients and I wanted the hospital to be a safe place to work, and it didn’t seem like that was anyone’s goal.”

The News couldn’t reach hospital spokeswoman Millie Jezior for an interview, but she issued a written statement saying the safety of all hospital employees, volunteers, and patients has been and will remain a top priority for the health system.

The hospital follows all personal protective equipment standards and complies with state and federal mandates and guidelines, according to the statement.

“Our PPE supplies are closely monitored on a daily basis and there remains no concerns of lack of supplies or any decrease in supply that will put our employees, volunteers, or patients at risk,” the statement read.

State data shows the hospital has reported more than 30 days’ worth of PPE at least since Nov. 16, when the state began tracking that data. The PPE tracked by the state includes N95 masks, surgical masks, gowns, exam gloves, and eye protection.

Victory told CBS nurses were told in mid-November to reuse their N95 masks.

“By the time the hospital decided the mask was worn out, it had been worn way more than recommended, and it wasn’t working,” she told CBS.

Victory also said she spent about $7,000 to purchase seven government-approved respirators called PAPRs — or powered air purifying respirators — for herself and others at the hospital to use, but hospital managers confiscated them.

CBS reported Victory is now working for another hospital in another state.

The Alpena hospital began administering coronavirus vaccines to its employees in mid-December, when the first dose of vaccine arrived in Northeast Michigan, helping to propel Alpena County to a better vaccination rate than the rest of Northeast Michigan and among the best in the state. The hospital began administering second doses of the vaccine to its employees in early January.

The hospital also made national news in December when the Washington Post reported on Dr. Richard Bates and the three-hour drive he made to bring the first doses of vaccine from Midland to Northeast Michigan. Bates has made the drive several times since then.

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