Texas hospital removes anesthesiologist from schedule over N95 mask dispute, later reinstates him

University Medical Center of El Paso (Texas) removed an anesthesiologist from the hospital schedule in late March for wearing an N95 face mask in a hospital hallway, but the provider has now been reinstated, KTSM.com reports.

Five things to know:

1. Henry Nikicicz, MD, was walking down the hallway after finishing a procedure and saw a group of people, so he put on his N95 mask. He has asthma and hypertension, The New York Times reported.

2. Dr. Nikicicz, a contracted anesthesiologist with New Rochelle, N.Y.-based Somnia Anesthesia, said he later got a text from the anesthesia chief saying hospital CEO Jacob Cintron saw the situation and believed he was "scaring the people."

3. Dr. Nikicicz said he was told the next day that Mr. Cintron wanted him fired. The physician's name was removed from the schedule due to "insubordination," the hospital said in a statement to NYT.

4. Dr. Nikicicz contacted reporters, who reached out to UMC. At that point, Dr. Nikicicz was told he was reinstated.

5. In a statement to KTSM.com, UMC said Dr. Nikicicz had been told several times to only wear the N95 surgical mask in operating room areas and when treating infectious disease patients.

"UMC is not unlike other hospitals in its efforts to conserve N95 surgical masks, especially when it comes to wearing them when not in the surgical/OR area and not treating patients," the statement said. "At the time of these incidents, the CDC did not require masks (and certainly not N95 masks) to be used by hospital staff (or anyone else) when not treating patients or while not in surgical/OR areas."

More articles on anesthesia:
ASA to hold COVID-19 'town hall'
Northwell Health converts machines into ventilators — 3 things to know
California anesthesiologist arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting patient



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