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Tri-City Nurses Say Emergency Department Alarmingly Understaffed

Nurses at Tri-City say they’ve sent concerns about under staffing at the hospital emergency room to management for several months, with no response.

David Bennett, senior vice president and chief of marketing at Tri-City, says the senior management have no comment until they investigate.

Brenda Ham, a nurse at Tri-City for more than 30 years and spokeswoman for the nurses’ union, says the hospital’s emergency room is too often dangerously overcrowded with patients and inadequately staffed.


“There’s not enough equipment in the emergency rooms to monitor patients’ safely,” Ham said, “and then they are putting patients in the halls where they cannot see patients, so it’s a very unsafe situation for patients.“

Ham also said a ”float pool” of nurses — who could be called upon to work if conditions required — was disbanded recently.

The nurses' union is also calling for a third floor overflow area that was closed to be reopened. They say patients are regularly left in the emergency room for more than 23 hours and sometimes for up to three days. They want more security for patients with mental health issues.

Tri-City is a public healthcare district in North County that treats more than 90,000 patients a year. It serves patients in Oceanside, Carlsbad and Vista.

Eleven people are vying for five seats on the district’s seven-person board in November’s election, and one issue is whether the hospital can afford to remain public.

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