A Russian nurse was disciplined for wearing only lingerie beneath a transparent protective gown while treating coronavirus patients. She is now afraid of losing her job after her images went viral.
But her colleagues and doctors as well as politicians in Russia have rushed to her defence, accusing hospital chiefs in the city of Tula of failing to provide her with a suitable PPE for working in a coronavirus ward.
It was reported that the medic, who has not been publicly identified reportedly told her bosses that she was ‘too hot’ wearing the uniform and didn’t realise the PPE was so transparent.
The revealing picture was taken by a COVID-19 patient in a male ward in Tula, south of Russian capital Moscow.
The hospital chiefs punished the nurse for ‘non-compliance with the requirements for medical clothing’ before the regional health ministry also confirmed that “a disciplinary sanction was applied to the nurse of the infectious diseases department who violated (uniform) requirements”.
Her colleague told Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper: ‘Now she is under big stress. ‘She is in a state of shock and afraid of losing her job altogether.’
One nurse who works with the punished woman said her colleagues ‘do not want to say more as they are afraid to harm her. It is all very simple in Tula. Bullying will start against her.’
The incident happened because there was a shortage of medical clothing to wear under the protective gown, she said.
‘In general we are supplied with PPE, but from time to time we run out of something.’
Nurse Oksana Drybo, from the same hospital, said it was important to understand ‘why this happened’.
There were insufficient supplies of disposable or reusable undergarments for nurses to wear as they treat coronavirus patients, she said.
She complained: ‘Medics do not like to be in transparent suits, but there are no others. And some do not have even transparent ones.’
Head of the Doctors’ Alliance, Dr Anastasia Vasilyeva, who has been critical of the Russian response to coronavirus, offered to back the nurse in appealing against her punishment.
‘If she turns to us, we will protect her,’ she said. ‘The fact that the costumes are of such a quality that do not meet the standards is a problem for management, not the nurse.
‘The picture shows that she was wearing some kind of plastic suit. We need to pay attention not to her [lingerie], but that the (gown) does not meet the necessary standards.
‘Firstly, a plague-proof costume is never transparent. ‘And it must be made of a completely different fabric.’
She did not break the law and ‘why should she, if it is hot, put herself in any kind of danger?’
Former professional boxer, now a pro-Vladimir Putin MP, Nikolai Valuev, urged patients to write to the authorities in her support.
‘Let’s hope that the nurse with her appearance aroused in male patients the desire to live,’ he said.
‘They found strength in order to resist the disease even more actively.
‘As a rule, good emotions always contribute to recovery.’
Another politician Vitaly Milonov said: ‘No disciplinary methods should be imposed on the (nurse). There was no malicious intent…I’m sure she herself was embarrassed….
‘In no case should the girl be punished, I am sharply against this.’
Senator Vladimir Krugly said there was a ‘violation of the mode of wearing of this protection’ but there should be no ‘reprisal’ against the nurse.
The head of Miss X lingerie brand Anastasia Yakusheva also announced that she was ready to make her a model of their underwear brand.
She said: ‘We want the Tula nurse to become a model of our underwear brand.
‘We are ready to deliver several sets of exclusive new products for fitting, and in the future we plan to conclude an annual agreement with her.’
But she would have to stop her work as a nurse, said Yakusheva.
Trade Union leader Andrey Konoval said: ‘It is clear that in this case there was a violation of generally recognised norms of the dress code and appearance at the workplace.
‘In our opinion, it was possible to do without disciplinary action.’
Drybo added: ‘If patients photograph and spread (the pictures) so joyfully, then they are either not sick or they are being treated well and they should go home.
‘Recovering patients should be grateful to the doctors who cured them.’