Photos: Nurses protest potential cuts by HCA Healthcare

More than 100 registered nurses and their supporters stood outside of Good Samaritan Hospital, while maintaining social distancing and wearing masks, for over an hour protesting potential cuts and layoffs by HCA Healthcare.

“In the last 10 years, HCA has profited $20 billion,” said Melinda Markowitz, president of the California Nurses Association and a registered nurse for almost 30 years. “They also received $700 million from the federal bailout money that we tax payers are paying for.”

“Yet last week, they want to do unnecessary layoffs and cutting of jobs, and we know when Regional Medical Center and Good Samaritan don’t have registered nurses at the bedside, that patient safety is going to be affected without a doubt.”

Most vehicles that drove by honked, which made the nurses cheer, some people waved from their vehicles and the biggest cheer came when a San Jose Fire Department fire engine honked as it drove by. Supporters waved their signs, some hand made and others printed with messages such as: “Safe staffing saves lives,” “Patients over profits,” and “Honk if you love nurses.”

Along with the nurses, Patrick Ahrens, district director for California State Assemblymen Evan Low; Nick Cortez, with the South Bay Progressive Alliance; and Brenda Rodriguez, with the South Bay Labor Council, attended in support.

“HCA is out of line here,” said Cortez. “Their true mission is clearly profit, it is not compassionate care.”

“Instead of protecting essential front line workers, HCA is engaging in sweeping layoffs and cuts to your retirement and economic security,” said Rodriguez, while talking on a bullhorn to the nurses.

Markowitz made sure to disinfect the bullhorn between speakers and gave each of them a dab of hand sanitizer.

“For two months, nurses have seen reduced staffing and some units aren’t following the patient-to-RN ratios,” said Markowitz. “Nurses have worked without optimal personal protective equipment like N95 respirator masks and other necessary PPE.”

Registered nurses had a coordinated protest in front of both Good Samaritan Hospital and Regional Medical Center.

“This is the first of many, many actions,” said Markowitz. “The only people that are going to suffer are the patients that we care for.”

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Author: Nhat Meyer