Report Exposes Patient Neglect at UC Hospitals

According to a 40-page report by a labor union that represents approximately 15,000 UC hospital workers, UCI Medical Center and four other hospitals are guilty ofinadequate and uneven staffing levels, resulting inpatient neglect and harm.

The labor union released the report Thursday, alleging that patient at UCI Medical Center in Orange who were restricted to their beds were developing bed sores and urinary tract infections because of understaffing. According to the report, the workers that were in charge of caring for critically ill patients would often skip their breaks so they could take care of the patients.

According to the union, the report was its first comprehensive effort to make the public aware of the problems associated with UC patient care. The report, titled “A Question of Priorities: Profits, Short Staffing and the Shortchanging of Patient Care at UC Medical Centers,” was commissioned by the University of California chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

“What we’ve been seeing for a while now … is an under-resourcing of patient care that puts the patient and us, the provider, at risk,” Kathryn Lybarger, president of AFSCME 3299, said during a conference call with reporters. “This paper is really a call for help.”

According to the report, one of the big problems is that several services are being contracted out to poorly trained temporary workers and that the permanent staff is not only responsible for training the temporary workers, but that oftentimes they end up doing their jobs too.

UCI Medical Center spokesman John Murray disagrees.

“It’s just not true – there is not a staffing problem at the hospital at any level,” Murray said. “The training we require of the temporary registry workers is the same standards we expect of our regular staff. If we see a registry worker not doing a proper job, then we put them on a do-not-call list.”

Union leaders argue that the problem with patient care at UC’s medical centers is a result of “chronic understaffing, administrative bloat and record levels of debt being taken on.”

UCI Medical Center denied the allegations.


Understaffing at hospitals can result in inadequate care for patients. For patients in critical condition, this can result in severe injury. The San Diego medical malpractice lawyers of The Law Office of Melinda Helbock A.P.C. represent patients that are injured while in the care of medical facilities. If you or someone you love suffered as a result of inadequate care while in a San Diego hospital, we may be able to help you. Contact our law office to learn more.

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