Physician Says He Was Fired After Speaking Out About Lack Of COVID-19 Protections

An emergency room physician who spoke out about lack of COVID-19 protections at his workplace says he was fired on March 27.  

Dr. Ming Lin, a physician with nearly 30 years of experience, reportedly used his personal Facebook page to speak out about the lack of protective equipment at his workplace.  On March 25, Dr. Lin wrote on his Facebook page that nurses “were given inadequate gowns to protect themselves.”  Two days later, he posted that he was fired.  

The American Academy of Emergency Medicine released a Position Statement in support of Dr. Lin stating that “as a member of the medical staff, [Dr. Lin] is entitled to full due process and a fair hearing from his peers on the medical staff.”  The Association called on the Washington State Attorney General and the State Board of Medicine to investigate the matter. In a Twitter statement , TeamHealth stated that Dr. Lin was not technically fired and that the Company was trying to find the right location for him.  Reports of Dr. Lin’s alleged termination comes days after a nurse in Illinois filed a lawsuit claiming that she was fired for informing coworkers that the Particulate Respirator N95 masks are more effective than the facemasks provided by her employer.  

It is widely reported that healthcare professionals across the country are extremely concerned about the scarcity of COVID-19 protections– widely known as PPE.  In recent weeks, AAEM has released several Position Statements in support of physicians including Statements supporting the use of self-supplied PPE and other protections for emergency medicine physicians.  On March 21, the American Hospital Association, American Nursing Association, and American Medical Association released a joint letter to the President urging him to use the Defense Production Act (DPA) to increase the domestic production of PPE and other medical supplies.  

Days later, on March 27, the President issued an Executive Order invoking the DPA “to expand [the] domestic production of health and medical resources needed to respond to the spread of COVID-19, including personal protective equipment and ventilators.”  He also issued a memorandum directing the Secretary of Health Human and Services (“Secretary”) to use all authority under the DPA to require General Motors to increase the manufacturing of ventilators.  

Hahnah Williams is an attorney, registered nurse, and advocate who represents healthcare professionals in professional license, criminal, and business matters at Hahnah Williams, Attorney at Law, P.C.