School Nurses Predict Disaster From Cuts (CT)
April 6, 2011
School nurses returned to another public hearing on the budget to warn against layoffs, drawing alarming pictures of children potentially succumbing to food-allergy caused shocks and seizures and asthma-triggered cardiac arrest and other potentially tragic consequences.
Five nurses in all addressed a sparsely attended hearing at Wilbur Cross High School Tuesday night before the Board of Aldermen’s Finance Committee, which is reviewing the DeStefano administration’s proposed new $475 million city budget.
Amid a city budget crisis, four school nursing positions were recently eliminated, leaving 29 serving 53 schools. More layoffs loom.
Nurses speaking out Tuesday night predicted medically untrained teachers or principals being forced to intervene or to call 911 in nurse-less schools.
The testimony echoed the tear-filled talk Jennifer Caron (left foreground in above photo), a nurse laid off from Barnard Magnet School, offered at the aldermanic committee’s first public hearing on the budget at Hillhouse High two weeks ago.
“I’m floating from place to place,” said Laura Ematrudo (at center in photo), a 30-year veteran nurse with seven years in New Haven. While she acknowledged that official must make tough budgetary decisions, she urged them not to do it “on the backs of our children.”
“Right now I’m not practicing safely,” she said. Several of the nurses also called aldermen’s attention to the huge potential financial liability in the case of a serious accident, hospitalization, or death.
Finance Committee Chairman Yusuf Shah termed the testimony “huge.” He said he was alarmed by what he heard.
“I will call the attention of Dr. [Mario]Garcia [director of the city’s health department] to what we heard,” he said.