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CHICAGO — A nurse is accusing Northwestern Memorial Hospital of firing her for claiming the hospital’s masks weren’t effective against COVID-19.

According to the lawsuit, 46-year-old Lauri Mazurkeiwicz was fired for speaking out. She worked as a nurse in infectious diseases and her complaint about face masks came as the hospital started seeing more patients with the coronavirus.

In a Skype news conference with her attorney, Mazurkeiwicz said Northwestern provided her department with regular surgical masks instead of the N95 type.

She sent an email last Wednesday to about 50 coworkers at Northwestern to warn about inadequate protection from airborne particulates, so she planned to use her own N95.

Mazurkeiwicz said she was fired the next day.

She became emotional in discussing her 12-year career as a nurse. She suffers from asthma and allergies, and has added motivation to stay healthy.

The lawsuit seeks more than $50,000 for retaliatory discharge.

Northwestern has released the following statement in regards to the lawsuit:

“As Northwestern Medicine continues to respond to this unprecedented health care pandemic, the health and well-being of our patients, our staff and our employees is our highest priority. We take these matters seriously and we are currently reviewing the complaint. At this time, we will not be commenting further.”

Christopher King, Director of Media Relations, Northwestern Medicine