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Entries in Strike (1)

Monday
Sep262011

California Hospital Patient Dies During Strike

Thomas Northcut/Thinkstock(OAKLAND, Calif.) -- California authorities are investigating the death of a patient at an Oakland hospital that police and hospital and union officials said resulted from a medication error made during a labor dispute between nurses and the health system that runs the hospital.

Police and officials at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center told the local media the woman died after she received an incorrect dose of medication administered by a replacement nurse. At the time, regular staff nurses employed by Sutter Health System were locked out following a one-day strike by 23,000 nurses across the state.

The California Nurses Association, the state nurses' union, blamed the woman's death on the lockout. After Thursday's strike, the association said, nurses at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center tried to return to work Friday, but hospital officials turned them away.

The union called the lockout "dangerous" and questioned whether the nurses hired as replacements were clinically qualified to care for the patients.

"Nurses are in the hospital caring for our patients who don't have the proper training, who aren't familiar with our equipment, and there's been a tragic death," said one nurse who participated in a Sunday vigil outside the hospital. A video showing highlights of the vigil is posted on the union's web page.

The hospital, however, said the fill-in nurses were all highly competent and experienced.

"Every single one of the nurses is an experienced nurse that has been working in the areas to which they are assigned," Dr. Steve O'Brien, the hospital's vice president of medical affairs, told local media. "We did not skimp on any of the nurses."

The hospital explained that it was contractually obligated to hire replacement nurses for a certain number of days, which was the reason for the lockout. Staff nurses can return to work Tuesday.

The union said it's fighting against Sutter Health System's demand for 200 contract concessions that the union said would undermine patient safety.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio