Keck Hospital of USC nurses hold protest demanding safer work conditions

Nurses from Keck Hospital of USC held a demonstration to protest what they say are unsafe working conditions during the pandemic.
LINCOLN HEIGHTS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Nurses from Keck Hospital of USC held a demonstration outside the medical center in Lincoln Heights Wednesday to protest what they say are unsafe working conditions during the pandemic.

It was nine months ago they did the same, and they say some of their grievances and concerns haven't changed.

"I feel nurses are at the bedside, we've been grinding for nine months of the pandemic, and we have not had many conversations with administration for how to protect our patients and our families," said nurse Joseph Tyoutki of Keck Hospital.

The nurses are concerned not only about the visitation policy at the hospital. They claim USC discourages health care workers from staying home if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

"Nurses have to decide whether or not to go to work or not when they are having symptoms because if they don't go into work and they call out sick they could be reprimanded," said Tyoutki.

"We understand patients need their families during this hard time for support, but we also want to make sure that the staff, the patients themselves and even the visitors stay safe," said nurse Valerie Hernandez.

The hospital says that all caregivers, patients and essential visitors are screened daily for COVID-19 symptoms, and report their exposure rates to be "significantly lower than the general public."

The hospital also says the "medical center maintains an adequate supply of personal protective equipment" while following protocols even more conservative than what is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The hospital adds there's no strike occurring and operations are continuing as usual.

The nurses meantime say they aren't just fighting for themselves.

"We come every day, we suit up and we take care of these patients and we want to make sure people hear us today and see our unity," said Hernandez.
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