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100+ Nurses to Rally in SF Wed. to Demand Stronger Swine Flu Safety Protections: California Hospitals Remain Unprepared Despite First Nurse Death
Date:8/4/2009

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On Wednesday, CNA/NNOC will call for broader public awareness of the fragility of the public safety net, and legislative action to assure proper safety conditions in California hospitals and protections for RNs and other healthcare workers.

CNA/NNOC is also proposing contract language in represented hospitals to assure provision of appropriate equipment, full adherence to current Centers for Disease Control guidelines and protocols, and other measures to protect nurses and patients.

One immediate cause of the protest is the firing of a nurse who had recently started work at the facility when was exposed to the virus in June. While still suffering from the infection, she protested to management about inadequate hospital safety standards that she felt contributed to her illness. Ultimately, the RN was fired in what CNA/NNOC calls retaliation against a swine flu whistle-blower.

Concurrently, CNA/NNOC has been surveying preparedness in a number of hospitals and will report a series of troubling patterns.

These include:

  • Unclear policies on how to respond to swine flu
  • Policies falling short of CDC guidelines--including some facilities lacking N95 masks, others re-using them after contact with infected patients
  • Lack of consistent isolation procedures for swine flu-infected patients
  • Retaliation for whistle-blowing
  • Lack of sick leave for infected nurses, and no presumptive eligibility of worker's compensation for nurses who fall ill due to swine flu

Among the preliminary reports from working nurses:

  • At Sutter Solano hospital in Vallejo, Calif., nurses were refused access to adequate N-95 respirator masks, prompting RNs to file a complaint currently under investigation by Cal-OSHA.
  • Nurses throughout California widely report that swin
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SOURCE California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee
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