Former Bush WH Medical Advisor on VP Pence Advising Doctors, Nurses to Ration PPE Again: ‘It Makes My Blood Boil’


Former George W. Bush White House medical advisor Dr. Jonathan Reiner called out Vice President Mike Pence for once again advising health care professionals to reuse personal protective equipment (PPE) four months into the nation’s coronavirus outbreak.

During a segment with CNN Out Front host Erin Burnett, the George Washington University professor and cardiologist decried the ongoing PPE shortages and the White House’s implicit acknowledgement of failure. In early March, as the Covid-19 virus began to explode in the New York City area, the Trump administration issued guidance that doctors and nurses should recycle gowns and masks and could resort to bandanas and scarves in emergency shortage situations. But by early May Trump was publicly contradicting a nurse at a White House event who said she had experienced “sporadic” PPE supplies first-hand. Instead, the president claimed the nation’s PPE situation by that time was “tremendous.”

“You’ve performed heart surgery on a regular basis in the hospital, worn PPE every day,” Burnett pointed out to Reiner. “Here we are four months into the known part of this pandemic and America has not solved the PPE problem. We don’t have enough of it. I join many Americans saying how the hell could that be?” She then played a clip of Pence speaking at Wednesday’s coronavirus task force briefing, claims that PPE “remains very strong” only to apparently contradict himself seconds later by adding: “we’re encouraging healthcare workers to begin now to use some of the best practices that we learned in other parts of the country to preserve and to reuse the PPE supplies.”

“Dr Reiner, that shocks me as a citizen,” Burnett added.

“It makes my blood boil. Every doc I know has been re-using N95 masks and other PPE since the beginning because we’ve had no confidence in our ability to get resupplied,” Reiner explained. “We’ve suspected that there was going to be a shortage. This administration has touted their ability to build some ventilators, but we’ve had no update on what the national strategic stockpile has in terms of personal protective equipment. We’ve had months to build up our national inventory. Where is it? Let’s hear the vice president answer that question. Where is the PPE?”

“That’s the answer we should have, because the answer should be ‘We’ve got it. We went and got it for you,'” Burnett added. “But no the answer is the best practice is to reuse PPE.”

Watch the video above, via CNN.

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