Press Release

State of California Fines Children’s Hospital Oakland for “Serious” Safety Violations

Media Availability
February 22, 2011

Press Conference 2:30 TODAY

Staff and patients put in danger, reports of some 77 gunshot victims over three years, without proper procedures

Registered nurses from Children’s Hospital Oakland (CHO) will hold a media availability to discuss citations issued today by CalOSHA, citing the medical center’s failure to comply with mandated security regulations that have put staff and patients in danger over a three-year period.

WHAT: Children’s RNs unveil charges against CHO, decry unsafe conditions
WHEN: Tuesday Feb. 22, 2:30 pm
WHERE: Children’s Hospital Oakland

Following an investigation that began in November, CalOSHA cited Children’s Hospital for having an ineffective training program, incomplete and inadequate procedures to deal with safety concerns, and “incomplete and untimely hazard correction for workplace violence exposures in the Emergency Department.”   The problems persisted despite repeated incidents and recommendations by the hospital’s own internal risk assessments and reports. The violations are expected to carry a $10,350 fine.

For the last year, nurses have expressed concerns that the hospital is cutting corners on staff training in ways that put caregivers and the public at risk,” said Children’s RN Martha Kuhl. “We have demanded that our employer provide us with the training we need to care for the children of Oakland. Instead they have disregarded their obligations, and we applaud the state for its actions, while we insist CHO provide a safe environment for everyone who comes through our doors.”

While Children’s officials told RNs that the hospital has procedures in place, the nurses noted that whatever the hospital is doing is wholly inadequate – and noted specific incidents:

  • In July 2010, an armed gunman came into the emergency room and held an RN and ward clerk hostage.
  • Nurses complained to CalOSHA after incidents in October 2010 when multiple gunshot victims arrived within minutes of each other, including one who was dropped off in the driveway.

Anna Smith, an emergency room RN who took care of the patients during the October incidents said:  “As an RN I am not going to allow a patient to die in the driveway, and I want to be able to focus on my patients and trust that the hospital will pay attention to our safety. Instead, their response has been to blame the nurses. They thought we shouldn’t have gone immediately to the driveway to save a man’s life. Nurses won’t accept this.”