Harris also told the Chicago nurse about work she and Biden are doing to get them more PPE
Talisa Hardin, a registered nurse at the University of Chicago Medical Center, was delighted to receive a call from Harris, who was calling several frontline workers on Thanksgiving, and spent time talking with her about the work she’s been doing since the pandemic started.
According to Bonnie Castillo, executive director of National Nurses United (NNU), Harris spoke to Hardin during the call about her and President-elect Joe Biden’s plan to invoke the Defense Production Act “to finally produce the PPE nurses on the front lines of Covid-19 so desperately need to protect ourselves and our patients.”
Castillo also posted a short clip of their discussion. “She let Talisa know that she and Joe Biden are looking forward to fully invoking the Defense Production Act,” she wrote in part. “This holiday season, I am so deeply grateful for the powerful advocacy of nurses like Talisa. Our solidarity will see us through this crisis.”
In the clip, Hardin can be heard thanking Harris for the call and Harris saying, “I know it’s personal for you, and I know that it requires mental and emotional and physical and spiritual energy and power that you give to it, so thank you.”
The Vice President-elect shared part of the call on her social media as well, writing in part, “We won’t be able to get through this without them,” and can be heard telling Hardin that she’s been “reading about [her] and just all that [she does] in service of so many people.”
Hardin was one of several front workers who testified before the House Oversight Committee on behalf of the NNU and the University of Chicago Medical Center about the lack of PPE equipment making it difficult and often unsafe for them to take care of coronavirus patients.
“The percentage of patients under investigation who eventually test positive for the virus is very high, but our hospital management has consistently refused to give nurses in my unit the protections that we need to avoid exposure and infection,” Hardin said in her testimony. “When I come home every day, I live in fear of contracting the virus. When I get home, I have to take off my scrubs, because the hospital won’t give us hospital scrubs. I leave them outside in a plastic bag for a few days before I bring them in to wash them.”
The NNU issued a statement to CNN following the discussion saying, “Talisa [Hardin] talked about how she and other nurses had to buy their own PPE because the hospital didn’t provide what they needed. And Talisa [Hardin] said how this was disgraceful because you wouldn’t send a soldier into battle without gear.”