Media Statement

Nurses Union Inappropriate in Exploiting Patient Tragedy to Further Union Agenda

The California Hospital Association (CHA) learned this weekend of a tragic medical error involving a nurse that resulted in the death of a patient at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center.

This was a heartbreaking event for everyone involved. Our hearts go out to the family and the nurse involved. Unfortunately, mistakes sometimes do happen in the delivery of patient care. At its core, health care today is still the most human of all endeavors. It’s about humans caring for other humans in the most stressful of times and fast-changing environments.

It is inappropriate and irresponsible for the California Nurses Association labor union to exploit this tragedy to further their union agenda. This is the same union that has taken nurses away from patient bedsides more than 100 times during the past three years. It also is unfortunate that the nurses union is questioning the qualifications of other nurses providing patient care.

When the nurses union calls a strike, hospitals cannot simply send their patients home and close the doors. Patients still need care, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The only option is for hospitals to hire temporary replacement nurses. The nurses union knows that hospitals must hire these temporary workers when they make permanent nurses walk picket lines. If the union believes the use of licensed replacement nurses is a threat to public safety, then why have they chosen to pursue a pattern of waging strikes on a routine basis?

Nurses are the heart and soul of patient care, and an integral part of every hospital’s patient care team. Union contracts provide generous wages and benefits. In many cases, full-time nurses in Northern California hospitals earn more than $150,000 per year.

CHA, on behalf of all California hospitals, deeply regrets that this tragic situation occurred. We call upon the nurses union to put patients first.