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60+ Nurses, Doctors Petition Against Health Director of Local Prison

More than 60 doctors and nurses at a state prison have signed a petition expressing a lack of confidence in the facility's director of nursing, according to a union official.

More than 60 doctors and nurses at a state prison have signed a petition expressing a lack of confidence in the facility's director of nursing, according to a union official.

Medical personnel at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility want a court-appointed federal receiver overseeing the state's prison medical system to step into the dispute, said Ismael Herrera, a spokesman for the Service Employees International Union.

David Donoghue, a nurse who signed the petition, said the 75 nurses and doctors in the medical unit are reprimanded if they refuse to work overtime shifts and sometimes work as much as 36 hours without sleep.

Donoghue and another nurse, Lorraine Reynolds, said managers blamed nurses for acting improperly in two recent inmate deaths.

One nurse was fired and another was reprimanded, Reynolds said. She said the nurses were not adequately trained for their posts and were held responsible for seriously ill inmates.

"They had to point the finger and blame somebody," Reynolds said.

The prison has had a recent increase in disciplinary measures against nurses for tardiness and verbal abuse of patients, said Rachael Kagan, a spokeswoman for prison system receiver Robert Sillen.

Kagan said the receiver's office does not get involved in personnel issues.

A federal judge gave Sillen control of the inmate medical system last year after finding that inmates were dying on a weekly basis because of neglect or malpractice.

Officials at the prison could not be reached for comment.

Donovan houses approximately 4,500 inmates.