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Lansing, Michigan

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Patient Dies After Hospital Replaces Nurses on Strike

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California officials are investigating claims that a patient died at a Oakland hospital after receiving an allegedly non-prescribed dosage of a drug during a nursing strike. That patient had been receiving care at the hospital since July. Dr. Steve O’Brien, the vice president of medical affairs at the hospital, also recently stated that the patient’s death was likely caused by a medical error.

Nurses at the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center walked off the job on Thursday during a labor dispute and attempted to return to work on Friday but were locked out. During the lockout, the hospital hired temporary replacement nurses. Consequently, the California Nurses’ Assocation filed a complaint with the state Department of Health after becoming concerned that the replacement nurses were not properly certified and trained to safely care for patients. Nevertheless, hospital officials dispute claims that the replacement nurses were not qualified.

Dr. O’Brien maintains that the replacement nurses were well-qualified in the areas in which they were placed to work. He also added that "while medical errors exist in health care, we are constantly investing in ways to improve patient care". The nurses union is planning a candlelight vigil at the hospital.