Nurses Sue Hospital For Endangerment
A group of healthcare workers and their union filed an action against Riverside Community Hospital, an HCA owned facility in southern California. [Story] The Plaintiffs are 4 healthcare professionals that state claims they were not provided adequate protective equipment and that they were pressured to sacrifice safety precautions to meet quotas.
Additionally, the hospital failed to alert staff to possible COVID-19 exposures and pressured staff to work even if they had symptoms of the disease. In fact, one of the healthcare providers is believed to have infected his mother, also an employee of the hospital, who eventually passed away.
This is so sad and reflective of the crises that nurses are facing around the globe. Nurses on the frontlines are advocates encouraging everyone to social distance and wear masks, yet they are not being protected and are not being provided adequate safety measures to ensure their own wellbeing.
Interestingly, each of the healthcare professionals who are involved in this lawsuit are a member of a racial minority making them more likely to contract COVID-19. Studies have shown that minorities are at increased risk of contracting COVID-19.
One of the employee plaintiffs tested positive and a month later, while reporting that he was still experiencing symptoms, was directed to return to work unless he tested positive for the virus again. This healthcare provider worked 1 shift and then received the 2nd test results which gave a positive reading. Consequently, he could have infected patients and other coworkers.
Also, in the Complaint, the hospital workers claimed they were “verbally abused” by supervisors for requesting masks and face shields.
It is sad that hospitals are garnering more money to take care of COVID patients and not providing proper equipment to staff. HCA reported a net income of 1.08 billion for the 2nd quarter which included 822 million in government relief to help offset costs to hospitals incurred during the pandemic.
I previously wrote a blog on a lawsuit by the New York States Nurses Association against Montefiore Hospital. However, the lawsuit was dismissed by the court. [Story] Even though the case was dismissed, for healthcare providers in the Empire State, some good came out of that legal action in that:
- Nurses are being properly fit for N95 respirator masks;
- Nurses are legally required to receive sick pay if they have been out of work due to COVID-19 infection;
- Facilities are to expand COVID-19 testing to more nurses working with COVID-19 patients; and
- Facilities are to establish additional compensation benefits for every frontline worker to recognize their extra work effort and personal sacrifices.
These safety improvements were made because of nurses fighting for working conditions that protect not only themselves but their patients as well.
Is your hospital now providing you with proper equipment? Is it supportive of you to be tested or take time off if you have symptoms? Let me read your comments below.