CA Nurses Call on County to Step in to Keep Doctors San Pablo Open
RNs warn of major public health crisis if hospital and its busy ER close
Registered nurses from Doctors San Pablo Medical Center (DMC) and Contra Costa Regional Medical Center will hold media availabilities at 10:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. at the facility, the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United announced this evening upon hearing the news that Measure C, the parcel tax initiative that would have provided the funds to keep the hospital open, failed to pass. The RNs will attend today’s 4:00 p.m. West County District Healthcare Board meeting and demand that the closure be addressed and put on the agenda.
The nurses spoke yesterday before the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors saying the closure would create a dire public health crisis in the region and urged the County to assume authority of DMC and ensure the continuing operation and management of the facility as an acute care hospital with a fully staffed emergency department.
What: DMC and Contra Costa County RNs Media Availability
When: Wednesday, May 7, 2014, 10:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Where: Doctor Medical Center, Lobby
200 Vale Rd. San Pablo, CA
West Contra Costa County, one of the most illness-prone regions in Northern California doesn’t have the emergency capacity for its current population with an ongoing shortage of ER and critical care beds. DMC currently has 79 percent of the hospital beds and 60 percent of the emergency care in the region.
“As a registered nurse who has worked for many years at Doctors Medical Center (DMC), I am intimately familiar with the critical need for a fully operational hospital to which non-Kaiser members have access in the Western region of Contra Costa County” said Seung Choo, RN. “Many neighborhoods in the community we serve border the refineries and people live in close proximity to heavy industries which has caused asthma rates among children to skyrocket. Less than two years ago, a disastrous explosion and fire at the Chevron refinery forced more than 15,000 residents to seek hospital treatment, the majority seeking treatment at Doctors. The incident was not the first of its kind nor will it likely be the last.”
A widely circulated 2011 study on hospital services and changing demographics of Contra Costa County, stated in their conclusion that loss of DMC would be catastrophic to West County since it received 62 percent of the regional ambulance traffic, and the remaining West County hospital would be inundated by this patient volume shift as DMC patients would need to go somewhere likely resulting in ER waiting times of up to10-12 hours.
CNA/NNU will continue to press the County Board of Supervisors to exercise their authority to act quickly and effectively to maintain a full service acute care hospital on behalf of the citizens of West Contra Costa County to avert a public health catastrophe.