News & Events

Brigham & Women’s Hospital Nurses to Hold Press Conference on Oct. 22 to Alert the Public About Deteriorating Patient Care For the Most Critically Ill Patients

Partners HealthCare has increased patient assignments for nurses
in the hospital’s ICUs in direct violation of a new state law requiring
one-on-one-attention to ensure patient safety

In conjunction with the press conference, nurses will launch an effort to
leaflet patients and families entering the hospital to warn them about
the impact on their care, and the need to contact the
hospital CEO to demand BWH follow the law

WHERE:            At the corner of Francis and Vining Streets
                         across the street from the main entrance to BWH.

WHEN:              Wednesday, Oct. 22 at 12 noon.

BOSTON, Mass. — The Registered Nurses at Brigham & Women’s Hospital (BWH), who are represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United, will hold a press conference on Wednesday, Oct. 22 to alert the public about deteriorating patient care conditions and illegal practices by hospital management that are compromising the nurses’ ability to provide safe care and close monitoring for the most critically ill patients at this Level One trauma and transplant center. The press conference coincides with the launch of an effort by nurses to leaflet patients and families entering the hospital to warn them about the conditions and the impact on their care. 

The patient safety crisis at the Brigham comes at a time when BWH takes care of the state’s most critically ill patients, as evidenced by the high number of specialized intensive care units in the facility designed to provide minute-by-minute monitoring and cutting edge treatments for unstable, critically ill patients who are recovering from serious traumatic injuries, cardiac and thoracic surgery, acute medical conditions, premature and vulnerable infants, and patients recovering from heart, lung and kidney transplants. These patients demand one-one-one attention from BWH’s highly skilled nurses to help them recover.

To ensure the safety of critically ill patients, a new state law went into effect this month that mandates intensive care unit nurses can only be assigned one patient at a time. A nurse may care for a second patient only if the nurses on the unit have assessed that it is safe for both patients. 

Unfortunately, in the wake of the law’s passage and its call for closer monitoring of ICU patients, the administration at BWH decided in August to cut the number of ICU beds and staff at the facility, eliminating five beds from the burn/trauma surgical intensive care unit and three beds from the thoracic intensive care unit. In addition, nurses in many of the hospital’s intensive care units have seen managers force them to take a second patient in direct violation of the law and the hospital’s own past practices. Since the hospital has implemented the cuts to ICU beds and increased nurses’ patient assignments, nurses have filed a number of official reports where their patient care assignments jeopardized the safety of their patients. The lack of staff and resources will also hamper the hospital’s ability to appropriately respond to a patient(s) presenting with Ebola.