The New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) filed three lawsuits, alleging failures on the part of several healthcare entities to protect nurses in COVID-19 wards. The defendants in the suit were the New York State Department of Health and a pair of New York hospitals: Westchester Medical Center and Monteflore Medical Center.
The three lawsuits contain similar allegations: inadequate personal protective equipment (PPE), lack of proper training for nurses redeployed from other hospital units into COVID-19 wards, and generally unsafe working conditions for employees on the frontlines.
According to a news release from the NYSNA, more than 70 percent of nurses were reporting COVID-19 exposure, and most were untested at the time of the lawsuits. The suits were intended to protect nurses, patients and communities from negligent protection and harmful working conditions.
There were at least 84 nurses in the union known to have been hospitalized with the virus, and at least six who died after contracting COVID-19 while working. The union sought an injunction from the state’s Supreme Court, and sought to enforce the directive from Governor Andrew Cuomo on April 13 that all nurses providing direct care receive at least one N95 respirator each day.
In addition, the lawsuit asked the Department of Health to rescind an advisory allowing healthcare personnel to return to work after seven days of COVID-19 symptom onset, instead requiring sick nurses to quarantine for at least 14 days.
These have been frightening, stressful times for essential workers, and especially those fighting the disease directly in healthcare settings. If you are aware of any negligence on the part of an employer who is failing to properly keep employees safe, contact an experienced whistleblower attorney at Kardell Law Group to learn more about your legal options.