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Nurses Fired for Not Working Hurricane

September 9, 2004

ORMOND BEACH, Fla. (AP) _ A hospital has fired or suspended about 25 nurses for not working during Hurricane Frances, hospital officials said.

Nurses at Florida Hospital-Ormond Memorial were fired for not calling in, not showing up or refusing to work, while others were suspended for not completing a shift or coming late, said hospital spokeswoman Desiree Paradis-Warner.

She said critical care employees are required to work during a disaster under hospital policy.

``It’s in each employee’s job description,″ Paradis-Warner said. ``We have to have caregivers here . ... patient safety is our No. 1 priority.″

As the hurricane approached, nurses were advised to work their shifts, she said. The hospital provided shelter for working employees and their families.

Frances made landfall early Sunday about 150 miles south of Ormond Beach, causing an estimated $2 billion to $4 billion in insured damages across the state and leaving at least 15 Floridians dead.

Other hospitals said none of their employees were fired or suspended for staffing problems during the hurricane.

``There were relatively few nursing team members who were unable to come in for their shifts,″ said John E. Evans, spokesman for Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach. ``And those were able to notify us, in most cases, of good reasons not to make it, such as storm damage they needed to address.″

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On the Net:

Florida Hospital-Memorial Division: http://www.fhmd.com/

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