A friendly telephone call is way too normal during Thanksgiving unless the caller is the VP-elect, Kamala Harris. The projected Biden deputy over the phone contacted a registered nurse in Chicago on Thursday to thank her for her work during the tough times of COVID-19 pandemic.
“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 Democrat can be heard exchanging messages with Talisa Hardin in a video, Bonnie Castillo, executive director of National Nurses United (NNU), posted on social media. Mrs. Harris also posted her side of the call. Harris reportedly also told Hardin about the Defense Production Act, a 1950 law that could accelerate the process of releases more medical and supplies to medical staff battling on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, Castillo revealed.
A NNU representative told CNN that phonic contact lasted 15 minutes during which Hardin spoke more about her experiences as a nurse.
“Talisa [Hardin] talked about how she and other nurses had to buy their own PPE because the hospital didn’t provide what they needed,” NNU wrote in a statement to CNN. “And Talisa [Hardin] said how this was disgraceful because you wouldn’t send a soldier into battle without gear.”
Hardin’s mother and uncle have both caught the infection, with her uncle currently admitted in the hospital. Hardin, a registered nurse at the University of Chicago Medical Center, previously testified to the House of Oversight Committed in May on behalf of the medial center and NNU, the union that she is a part of.
“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, according to written testimony. She said the medical center failed to provide them the necessary equipment and corona PPEs including hospital gown and face shields.
“As a nurse, it was deeply disappointing to listen to hospital attorneys, people who have zero experience with medical or nursing care, refuse to listen to health care professionals in their hospital. Management was consistently condescending and patronizing to our nurses,” Hardin said. Hardin says that the unavailability of protection gear has put them on high risk of contracting and transmitting the infection to other staff and families. The nurse said she sent her own daughter away to live with her grandmother.
“When I come home every day, I live in fear of contracting the virus,” Hardin told Congress. “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.”
Douglas Emhoff who is Harris’ partner, is set to become the first second gentleman, also spoke with Juan Anchondo, another registered nurse who serves in a medical surgical floor in El Paso, TX, on Thanksgiving Day. The video of that call was also posted by nurses’ union on Facebook.