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Format: 04/16/2014
Format: 04/16/2014


Allegheny General Hospital Nurses to Lead First Wave of SEIU Nurses in Haiti Relief Effort

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

At least two Allegheny General Hospital nurses will be members of the first team of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) nurses to be deployed to Haiti to assist in relief efforts there. John Ziegler, a registered nurse in the hospital’s surgical intensive care unit and President of the registered nurses’ chapter of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, will lead the team. Cece Peterson, a LifeFlight registered nurse, will also be joining the team. Four other AGH nurses, as well as SEIU nurses from other hospitals across Pennsylvania, are on standby and waiting for their travel arrangements.

“When the call for volunteers went out, Allegheny General Hospital nurses were quick to respond. We’ve had almost two dozen nurses volunteer to go to Haiti and many more donate to relief organizations,” said John Ziegler. “The hospital has been equally responsive by accommodating our nurses’ requests for time off and donating medical supplies to help the Haitian people.”

Over the past five days, a number of other healthcare professionals from AGH and the West Penn Alleghey Health System have traveled to Haiti to assist in relief efforts as well, including internist Steven Williams, MD, emergency medicine specialist Chip Lambert, MD, ear, nose and throat specialist James Blaugrund, MD, neonatologist Arcangela Balest, MD, and pediatric critical care physicians assistant Deborah Bohan.

“For healthcare professionals who dedicate their lives to caring for the sick and the injured, this unspeakable tragedy in Haiti resonates deeply. As the world responds heroically to the medical needs of the Haitian people, we are extremely proud of those from our healthcare system who are volunteering their time and resources to participate in this critical mission and bringing some hope to those in such tremendous need,” said Judith Zedreck, vice president and chief nurse executive at AGH.

Local organizations have also been helping the nurses prepare for their trip. Boy Scout troops have loaned tents to nurses who have promised to share their experiences in Haiti and teach first aid when they return. Businesses have donated sleeping bags, while the National Guard has donated MREs – Meals Ready to Eat – for the nurses to take with them.

“The response to this crisis has been overwhelming,” said Ziegler. “Yesterday morning I called my unit to tell my co-workers I was leading the team to Haiti, and in less than four hours they had collected over $500 for me to buy supplies to take with us.”

SEIU, the country’s largest union of health care workers, is partnering with the International Medical Corps, Partners in Health and other organizations to engage volunteers in the relief effort. This initial team of volunteer nurses will bring experience in emergency medicine, trauma, flight nursing, pediatric, medical, surgical, thoracic, cardiac and burns intensive care. Over 500 nurses from Pennsylvania have volunteered to go to Haiti with SEIU.

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SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, is the Commonwealth’s largest and fastest-growing health care workers union, representing over 20,000 employees in hospitals, nursing homes, home care, and state facilities. For more information visit: www.seiuhealthcarepa.org.


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