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Nursing Home Strike: Employees Actually Jeopardized Patient Safety Purposefully

Recent behavior by Connecticut nursing home employees is a horrifying example of the poor conditions in extended care facilities. Leading up to a labor union organized strike, the employees of the home are suspected of having meddled with tools and information critical to the patients care. According to the Hartford Courant newspaper reports, the employees’ foul behavior could have put the patients in serious jeopardy. Our nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys hope to see conditions improve for the residents of these homes now that the bad behavior is out in the open.

Police did report to the facility to inspect the string of incidents but they feel it might be unlikely that anyone will ever be caught red handed. The string of incidents all occurred during an overnight shift right before many of the workers were escorted out of the facility to commence a strike. The employees allegedly did things like change name tags on patients, mix up information in medical files, and hide or steal key components of tools used to provide care. Any one of these actions alone could produce serious injuries. Taken together the actions are just outrageous.

According to Lisa Crutchfield, a spokesperson for HealthBridge homes, the actions taken were clearly purposeful. The mistakes were of such a nature that in her opinion the perpetrators must have known that patients would be seriously injured by the resulting mistakes that could have occurred. Based on the accidents patients were at risk for being given incorrect doses of medicine, or possibly even medications or foods they were allergic to.

When reporters brought the incidents to the attention of workers on strike, the picketers were apparently shocked. Striking employees, who spoke to the media, were adamant that they would not be pleased if their peers were acting in such evil spirited manner. Since the facility is accessible to all employees at all hours of the day it is unlikely that the culprits will be identified unless they reveal themselves to authorities or their peers. The facility does not use security cameras or other features that log who is present at any given time. With the current strike underway, home officials believe the traffic there may be higher than usual.

The workers of some Healthbridge facilities are currently on strike in response to recent benefits and payment changes. This year they received a meager two percent increase to wages while also losing benefits such as family insurance coverage. Workers’ pensions were also frozen. These sorts of wages and benefits changes are plaguing the extended care industry as a whole.

In Connecticut the Attorney General George Jepsen felt strongly about the matter and decided to actually walk the picket lines alongside the employees. The Hartford Courant is reporting that this demonstration was an attempt to draw more attention to the situation in order to speed up the resolution process. Hopefully the Attorney General’s efforts will work because elder care is a field where disgruntled employees can have a decidedly large impact. In homes where employees are unhappy, the level of care almost always plummets.

The recent employee misbehavior is just one example of dangerous conditions in New Hampshire’s homes. In 2001 ten care facilities in the state had similar problems when workers went on strike. In those incidents employees did things such as tamper with records, damage medical equipment, and glue a door shut to a storage closet containing oxygen canisters. Obviously if the employees are not satisfied with the resolution of the strike matters could get worse.

If you or a loved one is suffering from nursing home abuse or neglect you should contact an experienced attorney to seek assistance. An attorney can help you to investigate the situation and secure compensation for the injuries sustained.