Kaiser San Francisco hospital nurses claim maternity ward unsafe for mothers, babies

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Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Medical Center maternity ward nurses filed a complaint with the California Department of Public Health earlier this month alleging the hospital's maternity ward is unsafe for mothers and babies, according to the San Francisco Examiner.

Here are four things to know:

1. The complaint, filed on behalf of the Kaiser nurses by the California Nurses Association and obtained by the San Francisco Examiner, claimed understaffing led expectant mothers to be left alone despite being at potential risk of life-threatening complications. It also alleges nurses regularly manage more patients than recommended in national nursing guidelines, which could result in medical errors or harm to mothers or their babies.

2. Several nurses, who spoke to the San Francisco Examiner on the condition of anonymity, said that during one incident in May, one Kaiser nurse was forced to assume the care of four simultaneously laboring mothers, which violates the recommended guidelines for patient safety.

3. The complaint also alleges babies are often delivered with only one nurse present, and in some cases, they are delivered in "triage rooms where there is little room for resuscitation and intervention," among other allegations.

4. In a statement to the San Francisco Examiner, Kaiser Permanente of Northern California said: "The claims being made about staffing in our San Francisco Maternal Child Health department are not true. We are proud of the care our highly skilled teams of physicians and nurses provide to mothers and newborns."

A spokesperson for the organization added: "Our staffing ratios meet all state requirements and we routinely adjust staffing levels to meet the needs of our patients. We have investigated each complaint made and our findings do not support the broad claims."

To access the full report, click here.

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