In an unusual statement late Sunday, the California Hospital Association, which represents 450 healthcare facilities in the state, sharply criticized the CNA for using "a tragic medical error involving a nurse that resulted in the death of a patient" to further its cause.
"It is inappropriate and irresponsible for the California Nurses Association labor union to exploit this tragedy to further their union agenda," said a CHA statement from President and CEO, Duane Dauner. "This is the same union that has taken nurses away from patient bedsides more than 100 times during the past three years. It also is unfortunate that the nurses union is questioning the qualifications of other nurses providing patient care."
The statement from the California Nurses Association said the labor action was called to protest "demands by Sutter executives for some 200 contract concessions, a number of which would erode the ability of nurses to advocate for safer patient care, especially on the critical issue of safe staffing."
That a patient may have died as a result of nurses being locked out, "is chilling and strikes right to our nurses' concern about their ability to advocate for their patients," the statement says CNA/National Nurses United Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro told a reporter from the San Francisco Chronicle. "It was irresponsible to lock out those nurses," DeMoro said.
After the one-day strike by 23,000 nurses at Sutter Health, Children's Hospital Oakland, and Kaiser hospitals, registered nurses tried to come back to work on Friday but "were instead barred from the hospital by hospital officials and armed security guards," according to the CNA statement. "At least one experienced, veteran oncology nurse who tried to report to work Friday was among those turned away at Summit."