N.J. doctors plan work stoppage

Nurses Activism


  • Home Health Columnist / Guide
    Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion.

New Jersey doctors are planning an unprecedented work stoppage Feb. 3 to warn legislators about what they say is the seriousness of the state's medical crisis. Doctors want new limits on the financial awards victims of malpractice can receive.

Bergen Record, Jan. 15, 2003



1,173 Posts

What bothers me about this is that during the "work stoppage" it is nurses (and others) who will take it on the chin financially, either by having to use vacation or personal time, or time off without pay.

Then, when the doctors get their way, which they inevitably will, they will go back to business as usual. Would they take a financial loss to speak out for the sorry state of nursing (not that I am suggesting that doctors solve our problem, but as a show of solidarity)?

Yes, there is a problem with malpractice rates, I do agree. But I don't think nurses should have to sacrifice yet again. We've given enough.


754 Posts

Originally posted by fab4fan

What bothers me about this is that during the "work stoppage" it is nurses (and others) who will take it on the chin financially, either by having to use vacation or personal time, or time off without pay.

What makes you think that nurses would have to work harder????

What would they be doing??? We cannot invent orders. Care would continue as before. New care might be impeded. I am sure that ER docs would not be allowed to be involved.


hoolahan, ASN, RN

1 Article; 1,721 Posts

Specializes in Home Health.

Lee, I may be wrong, but I believe fab4 refers to agency nurses, who wil becancelled, and nurses who will be called and told to use vacation time b/c the census will be down.

Let's face it, they are not going to slow down by much, after all, it's their own pockets, esp surgeon's who will be affected the most. Most orthopedic docs I know charge ~150 for a follow-up vs and accept $90 as payment in full, four of those, they will have made what we do in a day, add their fees for rounds at the hospital, and surgery?? It's not really going to hurt their purses too much.

Fab4, I think they are blowing smoke, but if the docs did have a work stoppage, it would also benefit you, as they are trying to prevent unnecessary lawsuits and implement caps on fees for pain and suffering. When a person sues a doc, they generally also sue the hospital, and all personnel involved.

Also, if nurses had a strike,as many have done,and elective surgeries are cancelled, do you not think this affects the docs purse?? But I don't think anyone asked them if they cared, so why should we stop them??

But truly, my gut thinks they are blowing smoke. There are some doctors out there who have dollar-signs for pupils, they aren't going to slow down biz for any reason, so I think you will be safe.

Home Health Columnist / Guide


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Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion.

Think work stoppage by Docs: all elective surgery cancelled, all Short procedure cancelled, clinics closed. What do all the hospital and facilites do...as they did in WEst Virginia and in my area: Gave the nursing and OR staff the day off without pay.

hoolahan, ASN, RN

1 Article; 1,721 Posts

Specializes in Home Health.

Wow, they really did get a good response? For only one day?? I don't think I'd be mad for one day, but a week of that, I'd be annoyed. Still though, if it gets them heard on their issues...I say more power to them. This will affect our OB/GYN's big-time too, and we are starting to lose them as fast as PA. It is a healthcare access issue, if we have no docs in the future, we still won't have jobs.


1,173 Posts

Thank you Karen...that is exactly what I was talking about. Not agency nurses, although I am sure they would be impacted, but OR staff, possibly M/S, PACU...

I read that some nurses in Western PA were put in that position just in anticipation of the doctors' strike.

Home Health Columnist / Guide


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Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion.

friday, jan. 3, 2003

w. va. doctors plan next move in walkout

by gavin mccormick associated press writer


charleston, w.va. (ap) - west virginia surgeons who walked off the job over high malpractice costs were plotting their next move after a meeting with gov. bob wise to try to end the job action.

other doctors warned of similar walkouts if the issue cannot be resolved.

a group of wheeling-area surgeons met with wise and other state officials in charleston for two hours thursday afternoon.

dr. david ghaphery told charleston's wowk-tv some doctors left the meeting ready to return to work - with the understanding the legislature would act once the next session begins jan. 8.

the doctors returned to wheeling thursday night to plan their next move, he said.

the surgeons want the state to make it harder to file malpractice lawsuits, which they say would eventually lower their premiums. they also want the state to seek help from insurance companies and other third parties to pay a larger share of their costs.

earlier thursday, state officials called on the approximately two dozen west virginia surgeons to end their walkout, even as four hospitals cut staff hours and transferred more patients.

as of thursday, five patients have had to be sent elsewhere because of the dispute. two were sent by the weirton medical center across the state line thursday to a nearby ohio hospital. two from wheeling hospital were taken wednesday to pittsburgh hospitals, about an hour's drive away, and another was sent to a hospital in morgantown thursday.

only one of the patients - who was taken 90 miles from wheeling to morgantown - needed emergency surgery.

wise will unveil malpractice legislation next week that has been months in the making, health and human resources secretary paul nusbaum said.

"six days before our announcement is not the time to go and (walk out)," nusbaum said. "i urge the physicians to give us time to fix this."

parkersburg-area doctors will consider a walkout during a meeting of the state medical association next week, said dr. david avery, a parkersburg family practitioner and former association president.

"i'm afraid this is just the first bit," avery said. "if the governor and the legislature don't act, this will be spread quickly across the state - and it will be all physicians, not just surgeons."

michael roberts, a surgeon at two parkersburg hospitals, said thursday there was "a good chance" the five surgeons at those facilities would stage a walkout in two weeks.

"we are basically in the same situation as the people in wheeling," he said, adding that his rates have jumped 140 percent. "we just can't keep up with the rising costs."

in the surgeons' walkout, health officials assured residents that state emergency medical personnel were on alert to help transfer patients and they unveiled a toll-free number for patients who need help with physician referrals.

the surgeons in wheeling and weirton began 30-day leaves of absence wednesday or planned to begin leaves in the next few days. the surgeons say the state has ignored calls to help lower skyrocketing malpractice insurance premiums, a complaint aired by doctors in other states.

all four affected hospitals are keeping emergency rooms open. but except for plastic surgeons, they have almost no emergency surgeons available. wheeling hospital said it temporarily reinstated one of the surgeons on leave to work on a patient too ill to be transferred. it released no details.

the four hospitals also began reducing shifts of operating room nurses and other surgical support staff.

"it's definitely generating worries within our staff, both about their own financial needs and about the health of the community," said howard gamble, spokesman for ohio valley medical center in wheeling.

dr. william ramsey, director of the office of emergency medical services, said no additional ambulances, helicopters or crews have been needed during the walkout's first two days.

w va doctors returned to work today after legislation passed---see how easily that occured when the lobbyists /doctors bombarded their legislators!

Specializes in Oncology/Haemetology/HIV.

Again, when MDs have a problem ... it gets fixed fast.

But nurses.....we aren't important enough to rate the attention.


2,709 Posts

Oh you should hear the doctors talking at my hospital in NY about this. Its all theyre talking about. One nurse asked an attending MD at my hospital this weekend why he was so supportive of MDs walking out on pts over money & leaving no one to provide the care that they will need, when they are so quick to put down nurses who walk out over less self-serving issues like pt care, unsafe staffing, dangerous overtime, & leave other hospitals & nursing supervisors to provide for the pts in the meantime. He said "Nobody listens to nurses. They arent as important as MDs. And if the state wont reduce our insurance rates, we will retire or go work for some company & let the NPs deal with all the BS. Let those fancy nurses pay $100,000 a yr in insurance & deal with the lawsuits for every little thing."

It was a little hard to take this weekend. We had been pushed to a strike vote twice in the last 6 years & got no support from many of those MDs. They looked down at us, berated us, & worked for the hospital trying to coerce us into giving in, writing us letters telling us WE were what was wrong with the hospital, stopping us in the halls to intimidate, etc. We never had to strike & got the contract we wanted but the doctors tried to help prevent that.

Funny how things change all of the sudden.

Now, those same attending doctors bumping into each other on the floors as they see their pts & end up sitting at the nurses station together - topic of conversation - MDs across the river in NJ may strike. "well its about time!" "doctors need to learn to put their collective voice & power together & use it!" "we dont get paid enough for this kind of abuse!" "this state needs us - we dont need it!" "we should all walk out nationally - see how fast we'll get legislative reform!" They sound like a bunch of union nurses.

The only thing us long-time union RNs could do was smile & say so now you know. Our contract negotiations are about to come up. Dont dare stand in our way again.

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