1,000 Nurses to Highlight Threat to Public Safety from Ebola In Major Las Vegas Action Wednesday

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Charles Idelson (510) 273-2246

Liz Jacobs (510) 273-2232

1,000 Nurses to Highlight Threat to Public Safety from Ebola In Major Las Vegas Action Wednesday

LAS VEGAS - More than 1,000 U.S. RNs, joined by nurses and other health workers from around the world, will hold an action in Las Vegas today, September 24, to voice a growing concern—are we doing enough to stop the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and prevent the spread of similar pandemics in communities in the U.S. and other nations?

Today’s action comes in the wake of an announcement Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control that the number of Ebola cases in West Africa could rise to up to 1.4 million by January if eradication efforts are not intensified. http://news.yahoo.com/47-million-later-u-still-220400355.html;_ylt=AwrSyCQuZA9UNHsAOk_QtDMD

Further, a report from the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General in early September warned that the U.S. is ill-equipped to handle a major pandemic, despite the federal government having allocated at least $47 million to prepare for it since 2006.

What:              Colorful nurses skit, followed by march/action on S. Las Vegas Blvd.
When:             Wednesday, September 24

Time:               Skit begins at 10:30 a.m., march to follow
Where:            Begins at Celebrity Ballroom, Mezzanine Level, Planet Hollywood 3667 S Las Vegas Blvd.

In the action today, RNs will highlight the threat to planet health posed by the climate crisis and pandemics, such as the current Ebola outbreak, some of which have a correlation to climate change, the focus of global protests this week – and cite concerns about emergency preparedness in U.S. hospitals and communities.

Those themes will be dramatized, first in a highly colorful skit in the Celebrity Ballroom on the Mezzanine Level at Planet Hollywood, where the convention is underway, beginning at 10:30 a.m. that will be followed by a creative action, emphasizing unease about U.S. preparedness, on the Strip along S. Las Vegas Blvd.

The action is a centerpiece of a convention of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United, which has 85,000 members from California to Maine, including several thousand RNs in Las Vegas and Reno. Nurses and other health workers from 14 other countries are also participating.

Just last week, National Nurses United, of which CNA/NNOC is the largest affiliate, announced it had arranged the donation of 1,000 Hazmat-style protective suits for nurses, doctors and other health workers fighting the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and is continuing to seek additional donation from garment manufacturers and hospitals.

While there is little indication at this time of the threat of Ebola in the U.S., the potential exposure of patients to Ebola has already sparked alarm in several U.S. cities, including Sacramento, Ca. In the Sacramento case, even though the tests proved negative, nurses note the patient had sat un-isolated for 30 minutes in the hospital emergency room, and the staff had little notice of the possible infection or training on how to respond.

In 2009, a Sacramento RN died after exposure to the H1N1 virus. “This potential exposure of patients and healthcare workers demonstrates the critical need for planning, preparedness and protection at the highest level in hospitals throughout the nation”, said Bonnie Castillo, RN, and Director of CNA/NNU Registered Nurse Response Network.

“Our nurses are expressing concern about their hospital’s state of preparedness including adequate supplies of personal protection equipment on hand, properly equipped isolation rooms, as well as protocols and training materials in place,” Castillo said.

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National Nurses United, with close to 185,000 members in every state, is the largest union and professional association of registered nurses in US history.

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