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Nurses’ Union reacts to Desert Regional Medical Center kitchen shut down due to pest concerns

Officials from Desert Regional Medical Center say they've closed one of two kitchens at the hospital because of evidence of pests. 

This comes just days after the California Nurses Association launched a billboard campaign in Palm Springs complaining about health and safety concerns at the hospital which is operated by Tenet Healthcare. 

News Channel 3 spoke with a nurse featured in that billboard who shared more on this dispute.

Overall union nurses at Desert Regional Medical Center say they feel validated. 

Earlier this week, the California Nurses Association along with National Nurses United revealed the billboard campaign off of Highway 111 West of Palm Springs near the I-10. 

It serves to mainly to bring attention to what they’re calling flaws in infrastructure and unhygienic practices.

The nurses union shared two videos with our newsroom, they say both videos were taken on February 2.

They say the first video shows extensive leaking in the neurological intensive care unit. 

While they claim the other video shows a cockroach infestation in the emergency department’s break room. 

Now Desert Regional Medical Center is closing one of its kitchens because of pests. 

"All along when we have brought this up, the hospital kind of downplays it and says, 'Oh, it's not quite what it is.' So you know, this coming out, and there being an independent report, independent of the nurses, that this is actually going on, is really validation for what we've been talking about all this time," said Desert Regional Medical Center registered nurse, Caroline Ng’ang’a.

Desert Regional Medical Center officials released a statement reading in part “We take this situation seriously. Following our protocols, we have called in additional resources to thoroughly assess the area and undertake any needed work.” 

Meanwhile unionized nurses say conditions like these are demoralizing. 

This dispute over conditions at the hospital comes amid Tenet Healthcare's lease negotiations that could also include a buyout option of Desert Regional Medical Center. 

The nurses say they're opposed to that. 

A number of public hearings on the lease negotiations are scheduled over the next 2 months with the first one on March 5th in Desert Hot Springs.

You can find the full schedule of public hearings HERE.

A statement released by the District also adds that, "The district and foundation board has requested that Tenet remove the purchase option from the proposal." 

Make sure to stay with us for the latest on this developing story.

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Bianca Ventura

Bianca Ventura joined KESQ News Channel 3 as a reporter in February 2022.


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