Pinoy nurses fight closure of Daly City critical care unit

By Rommel Conclara, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Jun 02 2014 10:40 AM | Updated as of Jun 02 2014 06:40 PM

DALY CITY, Calif. – Nurses and other hospital workers of the Seton Medical Center staged a vigil last week to protest the proposed closure of the emergency care services and critical care unit.

“These nurses behind me, we are all nurses, and we want to keep the hospital open and to be of service to the community. There are a lot of senior citizens in the area especially Filipino people. This is 90 percent Filipino community so they should advocate that Seton will be an acute hospital," said Tessie Cachola, a run staff nurse at Seton for 30 years said.

The Daughters of Charity Health System, which owns Seton, reportedly can longer afford to fund the services.

For more than a year, the hospital has reportedly actively searched for buyers.

These hospital workers and their union say management needs to act on it soon or else the community loses essential services and jobs.

Seton serves a predominantly Filipino community and the nurses say that without Seton, fellow kababayans are at risk.

"For us Filipinos it’s really vital to our community that this hospital stays open. Filipinos, as you all know, we are at high risk for hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol and we need the health care. We need the doctors here. We need the nurses here. This is really vital to everyone’s health, everyone’s life," Zenei Cortez, co-president of the California Nurses Association, said.

Melanie Santos has been working as a registered nurse at Seton since January 2000. She says that losing Seton would be more than losing a job.

"It makes me sad for everyone who works here but not just that, for the community,” said Santos.

"If this hospital closes down all the patients have to go elsewhere. Personally, I had my children here. My grandma, my grandpa this is where they go. All my family members go here. If this closes down, I don’t know where we are going to go. That’s just my family but how about all the other families? There’s so many families here that really rely on this hospital.”

Daly City Mayor David Canepa joined nurses to help emphasize alarm about the potential loss of hospital care.

“I just think it’s really important that people understand that this is the largest employer in Daly City and I have a fiduciary responsibility as the mayor of the city to ensure that Seton hospital stays here,” said Canepa.

Balitang America has tried to reach out to Seton hospital for comment. They have yet to respond.