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Nurses' union files lawsuit against Oakland Co. hospital over working conditions

Doctor's stethoscope
Doctor's stethoscope

A group of nurses at an Oakland County hospital filed a lawsuit today against their employer.

Nurses at the Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital claim a shortage of nurses and support staff is creating dangerous situations for patients.

Kathleen Lehman, president of the Professional Nurses Association of Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital – or PNA-HVSH, says patients are also frustrated with the staff shortage.

“But please know that we are doing everything we can to provide your safe care,” Lehman said.

The lawsuit alleges that nurses have submitted complaints to their supervisors -- and that those complaints are usually disregarded.

The nurses have filed complaints called Assignment Despite Objection – or ADO forms – that allow staff to let their supervisors know they aren’t comfortable with a task or situation before doing it anyway.

The union published a report called “Unable to Provide Safe Patient Care” on the hospital working conditions today.

According to the report, more than 240 ADO forms were submitted from the start of this year to September 1, nearly one unsafe incident a day.

“One of the main reasons we decided to file a lawsuit is because these ADO forms are being completely ignored by [hospital] management. This was one of the last things we could do to raise awareness of the problems at the hospital,” Lehman said.

The report also says there have been at least 150 incidents reported where nurses had to work 12-hour shifts without any breaks.

Pat Kampmann-Bush, Chief Steward of the PNA-HVSH, says the staff is working themselves to tears.

“It's not unusual on a really bad day to find several nurses crying because they think they've left their patients uncared for,” Kampmann-Bush said.

You can read the full report at insideDMC.org.

Bryce Huffman was Michigan Radio’s West Michigan Reporter and host of Same Same Different. He is currently a reporter for Bridge Detroit.
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