SAN PABLO (CBS) — The struggling Doctors Medical Center in San Pablo is losing its life blood.

Workers are jumping ship, even as the hospital is on life support.

There has been a double-digit decline in workers in the past three months.

The hospital is slated close in October but it could shut down sooner.

“Within 60 to 90 days, this hospital could close itself,” said board member Eric Zell.

It could close itself through attrition. Zell says one in ten of the hospital’s workers has quit since early May. They are leaving for more stable jobs.

“Some of the people did not actually live in the community,” said ER nurse Maria Sahagun. “So those people left.”

More keep putting in notice, Sahagun said she doesn’t blame them.

“We all have to feed our family and put bread on the table,” she said.

Sahagun and her nurses’ union blame hospital administrators because the hospital runs an $18 million deficit a year. She also blames politicians for not stepping in to fix the problem. She said the few workers left are digging in their heels.

“The nurses and the doctors are saying, ‘look administration, look Contra Costa County… we are going to stay and you need to find a solution,’’” said Sahagun.

County leaders are scrambling to save the hospital. One longshot idea the union is floating is to have Chevron pay $27 million to keep the hospital alive – as part of the Richmond refinery’s revitalization plans.

“Richmond and Chevron workers… should have a facility to come to,” said Sahagun. “There might there be another explosion.”

These desperate times call for tough talk and last-ditch efforts.
But, hope and workers are dwindling by the day.

If staff continues to leave, the ER might have to stop accepting ambulances as early as next month.


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