Patient Dies During Lockout in CA Nurses’ Strike

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media , September 26, 2011

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."

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10 comments on "Patient Dies During Lockout in CA Nurses’ Strike"

Block RN (10/7/2011 at 4:36 PM)
The number and type of takeaways proposed by the hospital are unfair and outrageous. They are proposing elimination of all positions less than 4 days a week. There are many nurses working less than 4 or 5 days a week and their benefits are pro rated. Every nurse currently is required to work every other weekend until they have been employed for 15 years. Our previous contract allowed nurses to work every third weekend after 15 years of service and then eliminated the requirement after 20 years of service. Sutter wants every nurse, regardless of years of service, to work every other weekend. Sutter is proposing elimination of ALL sick pay, stating that SDI will kick in after the 8th day of illness. In addition they are proposing cutting back on maternity leave. They are proposing elimination of all 12 hour positions and cutting back on the hours that non-benefited nurses can work. They are proposing large cuts in hourly pay. These are just a few of the more than 72 takeaways that Sutter has offered us! It feels a bit more than trimming the fat. It appears to be more of a union busting technique as the number and type of takeaways are so over the top. Sutter Health, a not-for-profit hospital, in 2010 made a "surplus" of $878,000,000. Yes millions!! And this surplus was made by Alta Bates Summit Medical Center only, not all of the hospitals in the Sutter chain. This "surplus" was made while upholding our contract. The very same contract that we are trying to negotiate to keep now. Nothing new for us, just the same contract that still allowed the corporation to collect this huge "surplus". [Sutter executive] Pat Frey received a 43% raise and now makes at least 4 million dollars a year. Who knows how much more he will make when the figures for the 2011 "surplus" are in. Sutter donated 1 million dollars to keep the Sacramento Kings in Sacramento. This is not a corporation that seems to be in financial distress. The term CORPORATE GREED comes to my mind.

IR Nurse (9/27/2011 at 3:23 PM)
Doctors and Lawyers are compensated very nicely. Nurses unfortunately belong to Unions in order to protect themselves from corporate greed. You don't see these administrators given themselves cuts. No sir.... the buck is pass along down the line. THEY DON'T see nurses as professionals but as expendable labor force. They sing the bleeding song about compassion and pt safety and on and on when they only care about MONEY. HOW MUCH money they are going to get in bonuses and compensation. GET REAL!!!! I CAN READ BETWEEN THE LINES. DO NOT INSULT ME!!!

Al (9/27/2011 at 7:28 AM)
Advocating for patient safety by abandoning the patients under their care seems a misguided approach. The responsibility for this particular tragedy rests in hands of the nurses that walked away from their patients, forcing the hospital to seek substitute care-givers. For those hospitals that brought in nurses to care for their patients, what other options did they have besides letting the union dictate their management decisions? The nurses chose patient abandonment to stress the hospital to accept their position.




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