By Nathan L. Walls

Wear a mask in healthcare settings

As mentioned on Twitter, I’m now a kidney transplant recipient. My transplant was in Philadelphia and, a week later, we returned home to Williams Township, PA, about 90 min. away.

Part of my post-transplant follow-up is getting frequent bloodwork to check various values, particularly kidney function and levels of a specific anti-rejection medication. That necessitates going to a local medical facility, having bloodwork drawn, processed and the results sent down to my parts of my medical team that are in Philadelphia.

I did the first of these remote labwork visits on Friday and the difference between Philadelphia and the Lehigh Valley is the prevalence of masks in medical settings. At the hospital in Philadelphia, near universal masking, notionally enforced at hospital entrances. Up here, “Masks recommended, but optional.”

You can probably imagine where this is going.

The next two people in the door to the lab facility within the larger medical complex are both unmasked, one of whom appears to be a medical professional who works within the building. I am now an immunocompromised individual and now I’m hoping neither of these unmasked folks have Covid.

My request is simple. Even if you’ve given up on masking anywhere else, medical facilities aren’t optional for immunocompromised folks. Wear a mask when you’re at a hospital, a lab, or a doctor’s office. You don’t know who else needs to be.