A group of Southern California hospital workers have filed a lawsuit saying they were given inadequate protective equipment and ordered to return to work while still recovering from the coronavirus.
Three workers and the daughter of a fourth who died from COVID-19 and a hospital workers’ union filed the lawsuit Thursday against Nashville, Tennessee-based HCA Healthcare.
The lawsuit alleges that Riverside Community Hospital didn’t provide workers proper equipment in a timely manner and called them back to work though they still had virus symptoms.
One worker says she was urged to skip sanitation measures to keep up the pace of blood draws with coronavirus patients.
Another worker, 65-year-old Sally Lara, was on a ventilator for two weeks before she succumbed to the virus, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported.
Lara was the second hospital employee to die of COVID-19 following the death of Rosa Luna, an environmental services housekeeper. Both were mourned by their coworkers at a vigil last month.
Several others employed by the hospital say they have tested positive.
“All of us as healthcare workers know we face higher risks in a hospital environment where we work in close proximity to patients suffering from COVID-19, but this hospital and its parent company didn’t follow CDC guidelines and didn’t seem to care about our safety or the safety of our patients,” Dave Regan, president of the union, said in a statement.
The hospital said protecting its workers’ health and safety has been the top priority.