This Texas Nurse Called Out Her Senator for Blowing Off Frontline Workers

Sheniell Granato, a nurse who was hospitalized with Covid-19, says officials still aren’t doing enough to protect health care workers

Izzie Ramirez
GEN
Published in
4 min readJul 13, 2020

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Sheniell Granato. Photo: Courtesy of subject

With more than 240,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus since March and about 10,000 cases in just the last week alone, Texas has become one of the country’s Covid-19 epicenters. Making matters worse, the state is experiencing a severe lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) and hospital beds — a problem, says Sheniell Granato, a San Antonio-based nurse, that many frontline health care workers saw coming and tried to warn us about.

In April, Granato and other members of her nurses union scheduled what they thought would be a conference call with Senator John Cornyn to talk about their lack of hospital resources. But Granato says the senator sent a staffer in his place, and they didn’t give the nurses the time of day. “Who will help the helpers?” she wrote last week in a tweet that’s gone viral, calling out the senator for failing to take the time to listen to frontline workers and their concerns.

Granato knows firsthand how detrimental the virus can be to our health: While working in the ER at the start of the pandemic she started experiencing the telltale symptoms of Covid-19; she was later hospitalized in March after three separate attempts to get tested. Her hospital stay — and her firsthand witness of the mask shortage in her hospital — inspired Granato to help create Help the Heroes, a nonprofit providing PPE to health care workers around the U.S.

Granato caught up with GEN this week to talk about her Covid symptoms, and what the state government needs to do to help health care workers.

GEN: You were hospitalized with what you believe was Covid before launching Help the Heroes. How has the recovery been?

Sheniell Granato: I do feel much better, but there are days where I just feel really fatigued. I have headaches for no reason. We’re seeing these sky-high numbers of hospitalizations nationwide as nurses and doctors get sick. A lot of them may get over it quickly, but there are going to be a lot of them that have long-term effects and are not…

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Izzie Ramirez
GEN
Writer for

Writing about climate, culture & comida wherever I go. Work in: GEN, Bitch Media, VICE, Jezebel, and then some. Medium’s resident Gen Z kid.