Members at Fountain Valley advocate for COVID-19 protections

July 27th, 2020

NUHW members from Fountain Valley Regional Hospital and Medical Center recently participated in a virtual roundtable with a representative from the office of U.S. Congresswoman Katie Porter (D-Irvine) to call attention to the lack of COVID-19 safety protocols at the Orange County hospital. 

Mailinh Nguyen, Joshua Jesus, and Mila Pham discussed issues at Fountain Valley including a lack of COVID testing on site for staff, cross-contamination of patients due to unsafe staffing practices, and a general lack of PPE. 

 Jesus, a radiology technician, described a situation in which a patient transporter advised a supervisor that he had an infected family member at home. The worker was not offered a COVID test and was advised to keep working, but soon began showing symptoms. The worker eventually was hospitalized with COVID, Jesus said, and seven of his colleagues had to be quarantined.

 “We’re frustrated because we’re getting less and less,” Jesus told the official. “Management says they’re following the CDC guidelines, but doing the minimum is what got us here… and they’re making it our job to prove that their guidelines aren’t working.”

Jessica Seigel, Porter’s senior legislative aide for healthcare policy issues, called Fountain Valley’s actions “absolutely absurd” and said members’ input would be very helpful to her team as they determined how to best support healthcare workers at Fountain Valley and elsewhere in Porter’s district.

 Before taking their concerns to Rep. Porter, Jesus and his colleagues held a press conference to highlight the hospital’s lax infection control protocols. 

The event was covered by the Los Angeles Times, Voice of OC, Orange County Register, and several radio and television stations. Workers are planning more actions until the hospital takes steps to protect their health and the health of their patients.