Union decries decision by EMMC to reassign nurses

Posted Oct. 02, 2009, at 12:43 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Representatives from the labor union representing two Eastern Maine Medical Center nurses who will be reassigned next week took their dispute public Friday in an effort to overturn a decision they say isn’t good for pediatric cancer patients.

Cokie Brown, an EMMC nurse and president of the Maine State Nurses Association, told reporters that the hospital’s decision to switch the location of outpatient pediatric oncology services, such as chemotherapy, will deprive young patients of the care they are used to from nurses they know and enjoy. Brown said the move will also force the two affected nurses, who she said have a combined 50 years of experience, to start new EMMC jobs.

At issue is a plan to switch the site of outpatient pediatric oncology services from the Pediatric Oncology Clinic to the Inpatient Pediatrics Unit. The switch, which requires the re-assignment of two nurses, is scheduled to take place Mon-day.

Dr. Sarah Fryberger, an oncologist on the unit, said care there will be just as high-quality as it is at the clinic.

“These are extremely trying financial times,” said Fryberger. “Eastern Maine Medical Center made this difficult decision to be fiscally responsible.”