Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 7 / 15 February 2018

Workers protest staffing shortages at Zuckerberg hospital

Nurse Sasha Cuttler protests staffing shortages at San Francisco's Zuckerberg hospital Thursday.

Nurse Sasha Cuttler protests staffing shortages Thursday at San Francisco’s Zuckerberg hospital.

Workers at Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center protested this week over staffing shortages, saying hospital practices could harm patients.

Sasha Cuttler, 55, a nurse who’s been at Zuckerberg since working in the inpatient AIDS unit in 1987, was one of the people who protested Thursday.

“We are so proud to work for one of the finest public hospitals in the world that is a leader in LGBT and HIV care,” said Cuttler, who identifies as “drag queen/questioning.”

“This is the people’s hospital and it requires safe staffing to assure that our community leaves the hospital in better shape than when they came in. Many of us are appalled that the City renamed the hospital for Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg rather than thanking him and putting his name on a plaque. …We are all paying for the bond that built a brand new hospital. Renaming the front of the hospital Wells Fargo Plaza and the Bank of America Medical Surgical Unit is in shocking bad taste and rewards the banks who profited from bail outs and foreclosing on homes.”

A news release from Service Employees International Union Local 1021 says, “Although San Francisco is on the verge of opening a new hospital building, the health care workers will report on the ongoing and unaddressed issue of understaffing.”

One example the union pointed to is when nurses use a buddy system so there’s someone to cover them when they take legally mandated breaks. This violates staffing ratio laws, according to union representatives.

“During break time, this buddy system could potentially place one nurse responsible for up to 10 patients, depending on the unit they work on,” the news release says.

Rachael Kagan, a spokeswoman for the city’s health department, which runs the hospital, said in an email, “Nurses are crucial to good patient care, and at the health department we work closely with our nurses in many forums, including regular labor-management committees and during collective bargaining. We will continue to listen to their concerns and address these issues together in those settings.”

Dr. Susan Ehrlich, an out lesbian, was recently named as CEO of the hospital, which is commonly known as San Francisco General. Ehrlich’s first day will be April 25.


— Seth Hemmelgarn, February 26, 2016 @ 11:27 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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