New York City doctor pleads 'GetMePPE' in emotional post to her kids

Dr. Cornelia Griggs, who recently penned a viral op-ed in The New York Times, shared a photo of herself in full protective gear with a note to her kids.

Get the latest from TODAY

Sign up for our newsletter
SUBSCRIBE
By Maura Hohman

One mom on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic is using her sacrifice and bravery as a powerful teaching moment for her children.

In a viral tweet posted Sunday, Dr. Cornelia Griggs, a pediatric surgeon in New York City, shared a photo of herself wearing protective medical gear from head to toe.

"My babies are too young to read this now," she wrote. "And they’d barely recognize me in my gear. But if they lose me to COVID I want them to know Mommy tried really hard to do her job."

Download the TODAY app for the latest coverage on the coronavirus outbreak.

She ended her post with the hashtag #GetMePPE, which calls attention to the shortage of personal protective equipment that health care workers are facing. In just 24 hours, the tweet received almost 103,000 retweets and 530,000 likes.

Griggs previously shed light on the situation in New York City hospitals in a New York Times op-ed published earlier this month.

In the piece, titled "A New York Doctor’s Coronavirus Warning: The Sky Is Falling," she wrote: "Patients are lining up outside of our emergency rooms and clinics looking to us for answers — but we have few ... Making my rounds at the children’s hospital earlier this week, I saw that the boxes of gloves and other personal protective equipment were dwindling. This is a crisis for our vulnerable patients and health care workers alike."

After describing "the cracks in our medical and financial systems ... splayed open like a gashing wound," Griggs concluded with a plea to the general public.

"Please flatten the curve and stay at home, but please do not go into couch mode," she implored. "We might be the exhausted masked face trying to resuscitate you when you show up on the doorstep of our hospital. And when you do, I promise not to panic. I’ll use every ounce of my expertise to keep you alive. Please, do the same for us."

Other health care workers around the country have echoed Griggs' concern. In an NBC News survey of more than 250 physicians, nurses and more, almost all respondents lacked the PPE necessary to do their jobs safely.

One nurse in Flint, Michigan, who works with immunocompromised patients, told NBC News that she has one N95 mask — which her employer told her to reuse, against manufacturer guidelines. She also reported a shortage of disinfectant wipes at her facility.

“I don’t feel like my hospital is failing us,” she told NBC News. “It’s the whole system that’s failing us.”

Luckily, people are answering health care workers' calls for help.

Nail salons across the country, which have closed amid social-distancing regulations, are donating their masks and gloves to those in need. Last week, Hanes, the T-shirt company, announced it would make cotton face masks, and Gap shared plans to use its vendor network to deliver supplies to hospitals.

Other ways to support health care workers during this trying time include delivering food, giving blood and donating to charities supporting hospitals.