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Fawcett Memorial nurses launch complaints; hospital CEO resigns

Some workers at Port Charlotte’s Fawcett Memorial Hospital said their colleagues are becoming their new patients with COVID-19, and now, the hospital’s CEO has abruptly resigned.

I think there are more positive employees than there are patients,” said Ann Stager, circulating RN in the surgery unit.

Staff at Fawcett said that’s their concerning reality and they hope changes are coming.

“My number one concern is me being sick and taking it home to my family,” said nurse June Phillips.

An employee sent WINK News an internal memo sent to all HCA Health staff from CEO Bill Hawley. He said his last day is Friday, citing personal reasons. WINK News called Hawley to confirm, but he quickly hung up.

Fawcett staff have been concerned with the reuse of personal protective equipment since the beginning of the pandemic.

“You get contaminated very easily because they want you to reuse gowns,” Phillips said.

They also said there has been a lack of communication and issues with pay.

“There’s a very large lag on notifying staff when a patient is positive,” Stager said.

Staff members said their colleagues who test positive for COVID-19 get paid, but if they end up testing negative, they’re forced to stay out of work until they’re symptom-free for seven days and without pay.

Some employees aren’t taking that risk.

“It’s very high right now because people are coming to work and potentially positive, we don’t know,” Stager said.

They hope to see improvements so they can give 100 percent to their patients and the community.

“If they don’t do the right thing right now, we’re not going to see that continue,” Stager said.

WINK News reached out to the nurses’ union, which said it has made recommendations to hospitals since Feb. 4 on how to protect staff, but it never got a response from Fawcett.

We asked the hospital about that but so far, haven’t received a reply. We did, however, receive a statement about Hawley’s resignation.

“Fawcett Memorial Hospital CEO Bill Hawley has shared with our staff that he will be leaving his role, effective May 8. We extend our best wishes to Bill in his future endeavors. Michael Ehrat, CEO at Englewood Community Hospital, will assume interim CEO duties during the CEO recruitment process for Fawcett Memorial Hospital.”

Reporter:Erika Jackson
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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