Nurses Detail a Scranton Hospital’s ‘Carelessness’ That Exposed Patients to COVID-19
Scranton hospital made national headlines after The Washington Post published an article detailing the experiences of nurses and other employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. The medical professional spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution.
The hospital’s alleged carelessness could have exposed healthy patients to the coronavirus disease. The nurses recalled being sent back and forth between the “COVID floor” with patients infected with the virus and the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), where they treated recovering mothers and their newborns.
The Hospital Risked Infecting Patients with Coronavirus
One of the nurses who detailed her experience was pregnant at the time. A manager at Scranton’s Hospital assured her that she would not work on the floor with coronavirus patients due to the potential risks to the pregnant nurse’s health.
However, two days after that conversation, the hospital’s administration allegedly backtracked on their assurance, saying that the facility required “all hands on deck.” The nurses were ordered to move between the COVID floor and the NICU and ICU floors, risking the health of vulnerable newborns, recovering mothers, and cancer patients.
The pregnant nurse was not only worried about her baby but also all other patients whose health was at risk because they were not aware that they were treated by the same nurses that worked on the COVID floor.
The Facility’s Failure to Provide Medical Staff with Protective Gear
Even when treating patients suspected to have coronavirus, the Scranton hospital’s administrators provided their nurses with protective equipment only after COVID-19 tests came back positive, which usually took several days after the nurses’ first interaction with the symptomatic patients.
At least 11 medical staff came forward with their stories to describe from the inside how Scranton Hospital struggled to protect their workers and patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Seven of the nurses spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution.
Community Health Systems, a Tennessee-based company, owns this and 98 other hospitals across 17 states and is one of the biggest health companies in the nation. Like most other hospitals in Pennsylvania and other states across the U.S., Scranton Hospital was not prepared for the coronavirus crisis.
Employees interviewed by The Post said they spoke out to express their resentment over the carelessness, disorganization, and greed on the part of the facility’s corporate owner.
The Hospital’s Failure to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19
The lack of precautionary measures taken by the hospital’s administration could be considered “carelessness,” as medical staff members were ordered to shuttle back and forth between the COVID floor and the floors with patients potentially vulnerable to the virus without adequate protective gear to avoid spreading coronavirus within the facility.
Based on the hospital staff’s experiences, Scranton Hospital violated at least several precautionary steps and actions outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the “Interim Guidance for Healthcare Facilities” and the “Coronavirus Preparedness Checklist for Healthcare Facilities” documents.
The staff members and representatives of their union insisted that their concerns and complaints had been dismissed during an April 3 meeting with the administration. However, the hospital’s administration introduced several changes to “prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection” only after The Post contacted CHS, though it could have been too late for many patients.
Unfortunately, those are not isolated incidents. While hospitals in Pennsylvania and across the nation were unprepared for the influx of coronavirus patients and lacked necessary protective equipment for its staff members, such carelessness could expose dozens, if not hundreds, of patients to COVID-19.
If a hospital’s medical negligence, carelessness, or recklessness caused your coronavirus infection, speak with our Scranton personal injury attorneys at Needle Law Firm. Call at 570-344-1266 for a case review.