Lawsuit accuses Calif. hospital of letting dead bodies of COVID patients decompose

A former security guard at a California hospital has filed a lawsuit against her former employer for intolerable working conditions. She says she was ordered to clean a malfunctioning freezer filled with decomposing dead bodies.

A former lead security guard at Memorial Hospital of Gardena says that two nights after Christmas, she was ordered to handle the decomposing bodies of deceased COVID-19 patients and clean the outdoor freezer they were stored in without proper training and without adequate personal protective equipment.

“If someone in the nursing department didn’t want to touch the bodies, how am I supposed to feel safe touching those bodies?” said the security guard, who didn’t want her name used.

The security guard says she had previously told her superiors that the freezer was not cold enough and needed to be repaired. She says the mortuary would not pick up the bodies due to the condition they were in.

“It got worse and worse until now they’re just not a body no more. They’re just blood, fluids and rubbery skin,” the security guard said.

The hospital has been using the mobile freezer because its morgue can only hold up to six bodies. During the pandemic, that has been insufficient. The hospital admits it has kept bodies in the freezer for months, but it denies the bodies were mishandled or allowed to thaw out.

Gov. Gianforte Reaffirms Montana Law Banning Discrimination Based On Vaccination Status

Governor Greg Gianforte has provided guidance to Montana employers and employees impacted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rule mandating vaccines for employers with 100 or more employees nationwide. 

“Montana law is unequivocal: employers are prohibited from discriminating based on vaccination status,” Gov. Gianforte wrote in guidance to Montanans. “While employers may encourage employees to vaccinate, they may not tie or modify any terms of employment based on vaccination status.”

On Nov. 5, 2021, OSHA published the “COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard” applicable to employers with 100 or more employees nationwide. The OSHA mandate violates Montana law prohibiting discrimination based on a person’s vaccination status. 

The OSHA mandate was immediately challenged, and its enforcement was stayed nationwide by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals until Dec.17, 2021, when the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling allowing implementation of the OSHA mandate. The Sixth Circuit ruling has also been challenged and is presently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Can Vaccination Status Lead to Discrimination?

Perhaps, there is a vaccination mandate, which means employees must be vaccinated. Or maybe vaccinations are still optional for employees to allow for minimal disruption to how the company operates. There are pros and cons to each choice. With Covid-19 having caused a worldwide pandemic, millions of deaths, and the upheaval of life as we knew it in 2020, the availability of a vaccine was seen as a blessing by many.

The possible lifesaving implications of a vaccine meant employers could reopen their doors and safely reintegrate staff working from home back into the office. Mandating vaccines for in-office work was a smart choice for companies that wanted to give employees and clients confidence in the safety of coming back into their buildings.

Some employees either didn’t want to get the vaccine, couldn’t get it, or wanted to continue working from home to ensure safety.

Andrew Cuomo’s Nursing Home Shield Means ‘They Got Away with Killing Our Mom’

For Vivian Rivera-Zayas and her family, the troubles began in January 2020 after her 78-year-old mother Ana Martinez experienced complications from knee-replacement surgery and doctors sent her to Our Lady of Consolation, a nursing home in West Islip, New York, for a few weeks of therapy.

Ana was supposed to return to her Williamsburg apartment by the end of the month, but her discharge was postponed again and again. Then came New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s March 12 order locking down nursing homes in response to COVID-19.

New York Law Gives Nursing Homes Protection In COVID-19 Death Suits

There are calls for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign. A report by state Attorney General Letitia James, also a Democrat, found that his administration deliberately undercounted the actual numbers of deaths that occurred in nursing homes. The actual percentage may be as much as 50% higher. An FBI investigation is underway, and many families want to sue nursing homes for negligence, but a law in New York state gives nursing homes, hospitals and other care facilities liability protection from coronavirus death suits.

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