CHILDRENâ€™S Picket at Kaiser Hayward-SATURDAY,11a.m.-1p.m.
Children, Parents, Friends Halloween-Themed Protest to Save Vital Pediatric Unit
“Treat us, don’t trick us!” they demand
HAYWARD- Hundreds of children, parents, and concerned community members will be picketing Saturday at 11a.m. to protest Kaiser Permanente’s plans to close the inpatient pediatrics unit in Hayward in 2014. More than 1,000 children a year are hospitalized in the unit.
The event will have the first-ever children-only picket line at Kaiser, joined by friends dressed as popular Sesame Street characters who will be picketing alongside them. Many of the children will be in Halloween costumes as they tell Kaiser – “Treat us don’t trick us!”
Saturday’s action is part of a growing and heated battle to keep the unit open. In mid-April a spirited protest was attended by more than 400 people, and children sold lemonade in August as part of their efforts to keep the unit open. Last week, the Newark Teachers Association, and Fremont Unified School District Teachers Association were the latest organizations to join the campaign to keep the pediatrics unit open. Kaiser nurses have also collected thousands of cards from community members opposing the closure of the inpatient pediatrics unit.
“My son had an emergency appendectomy in this unit, and it was one of the scariest moments of my life,” said Brannin Dorsey, a Fremont parent and president of the Fremont Unified School District Teachers Association. “It is heartless for Kaiser to add to parents’ hardships at a time of need. Having to drive to a far-away location, get a hotel, and arrange babysitting is not what parents need at a time of crisis. This decision is just plain wrong, and it needs to be reversed.”
What: Children and parent Halloween-themed picket to save Kaiser Hayward pediatrics unit
When: Saturday, October 20th 11:00 a.m.—1:00 p.m.
Where: Kaiser Hayward, 27400 Hesperian Boulevard, Hayward, CA
There are more than 100,000 children in the tri-city area who receive healthcare from Kaiser Permanente. Kaiser is building a nearby hospital in San Leandro slated to replace much of the Hayward facility, yet has made no plans to include an inpatient pediatrics unit.
Currently, the Hayward unit serves children who live in a geographic area that includes Hayward, Fremont, Union City, San Lorenzo, San Leandro, and Castro Valley. The closure will force southern Alameda County families with children who need to be hospitalized to drive to Oakland, Santa Clara, or Roseville for care.
“In the event that children require hospitalization, it would create an unnecessary hardship on working families to have to drive to Oakland, Santa Clara, or Roseville for care, especially for parents who have children with chronic medical problems that require frequent pediatric services,” said Winny Knowles, an RN who works in the pediatrics unit.
“As a parent whose child has been in the pediatrics unit, it is appalling that Kaiser would cut this local service to our children at a time of record profits,” said John Green, a local parent from Castro Valley. “I pay thousands of dollars for Kaiser insurance, and I deserve to have services delivered to my local community. My premiums continue to go up, but the services we get continue to decrease.”
Many elected officials, parent teacher associations, and community groups have endorsed the campaign to keep the Kaiser pediatrics unit open including: U.S. Rep. Pete Stark, Sen. Ellen M. Corbett, former Assembly Member Alberto Torrico, Assembly Member Bob Wieckowski, Searles Elementary PTA/PTC in Union City, Stonebrae PTA/PTC in Hayward, Castro Valley Teachers Association, Hayward Education Association, Fremont Unified School District Teachers Association, Newark Teachers Association, Alameda Central Labor Council, Hayward Firefighters Local 1909, SEIU Local 1021, and the Tri-Valley Democratic Club.