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Mask refusal: Pratt Regional Medical Center faces challenges getting patients to wear masks

Coronavirus in Kansas

WICHITA, Kan (KSNW) – The statewide mask mandate was recently lifted, and many counties followed suit. While it’s now a matter of personal choice in many cases, that’s not always the case in the medical field.

At Pratt Regional Medical Center, employees ask for a little bit of kindness and flexibility from the community when it comes to wearing a mask.

“It’s frustrating. People need to be respectful of people that are sick in the hospital,” said Kristen Kellogg, Pratt Regional Medical Center.

Kellogg is often the first person visitors see at Pratt Regional Medical Center. She volunteers at the front desk and screens everyone for COVID symptoms.

“We just want people to be respectable. For sick people in the hospital, we have to screen,” she said.

While restrictions for businesses are restaurants in Pratt are lifted, the hospital still has a mask mandate in place.

“It’s hard because we’re not making this up for our own fun, and please, you know, we’ve been handed a list of guidelines from the CDC that we are to follow and the questions that we’re to ask,” said Amy Carrington, guest services as Pratt Regional Medical Center.

Despite signs on the hospital doors, some employees said they have had disagreements with patients about wearing masks inside.

“We are just doing our jobs. There’s a lot of frustration and impatience with us,” Carrington said.

Seventy percent of employees at the hospital are vaccinated, but they say masks will continue to protect everyone’s safety.

“Regardless of my political affiliation and belief, patient safety transcends that. We have patients coming in, if they don’t have a very good immune system, they weren’t able to get vaccinated for one reason or another, and those folks are at risk,” said Paul Carrington, director of quality and infection control at Pratt Regional Medical Center.

Employees at Pratt Regional Medical Center said they talked with employees at other hospitals who have been experiencing similar issues.

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