OAKLAND, Calif. – The National Nurses Union said they will hold a strike with the message that they are not prepared or protected to deal with Ebola.
“We, as front line workers, are saying we are not prepared,” said Zenei Cortez, Vice President of National Nurses United. “We have not had the proper training, the proper education, and we do not have the right equipment to safely take care of our patients and to safely protect ourselves, our communities, and our other patients.”
Eighteen-thousand registered nurses and nurse practitioners at 66 Kaiser Permanente hospitals and clinics are prepared to have a strike from November 11 to 12.
Cortez said that the Filipino-American community should be just as concerned as the nurses union.
“This is really important to our Filipino community,” said Cortez. “A lot of our kababayans are Kaiser patients. A lot of nurses are Filipinos. … Our worst fear is that first of all, we will be contaminating ourselves there, by contaminating our families and also contaminating our patients.”
The nurses are asking for full-body Hazmat suits that are impervious to body fluid, blood and virus.
They also want hands-on interactive training on proper use of the equipment and how to treat an Ebola patient.
“Kaiser continues to take care of their profit of $12 million a day rather than provide all the safety equipments and the safeguards that we need to take care of our patients each and every day,” said Cortez.
But Kaiser’s senior vice-president of human resources, Gay Westfall, said Kaiser is well-prepared for Ebola.
The nurses union has also repeatedly called on the White House and Congress to direct all hospitals to meet the standards of all nurses to have the optimal personal protective equipment and most current training on treating Ebola patients.
Kaiser insists they have protocols and protective equipment that meet or exceed federal recommendations.
(Source: ABS CBN News)