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Nurses of Westchester Medical's AIDS Unit Laid Off

MOUNT PLEASANT, N.Y. – One of the casualties of the upcoming layoffs at Westchester Medical Center is the AIDS Management Unit. The three nurses who run the unit are all being let go, leaving the nurses association puzzled as to who will take care of the AIDs patients from here on out.

“Right now it’s tough because they were in charge of dealing with a good portion of the AIDS patients in Westchester and now there’s no one to take care of those patients,” said Mary Lou Cahill, the New York State Nurses Association representative for the Westchester Medical Center.

A Westchester Medical Center media representative did not respond with comment as of Monday night.

Earlier this month, the Westchester Medical Center announced that it will be laying off 250 employees at the end of December, including 132 registered nurses.

Cahill said the AIDS Management Unit included two registered nurses and one staff nurse.  She declined to disclose the names of the nurses and said the group did not want to comment given their current circumstances.

Cahill said that the AIDS Management workers’ duty went beyond the walls of the medical center.

“These people would basically travel around Westchester, all the way down to Yonkers and up and go to the homes of these patients to care for them,” Cahill said.  “One of them has been a part of this unit for 20 years and they were beginning to work with their patients’ children that also now have the disease.”

Cahill said the medical center has not provided the nurses association with any reasoning behind the layoffs other than financial concerns.

“All they’ve told us is that it’s because of money and budget constraints,” Cahill said.

Shortly after the medical center announced on Dec. 8 that it would be cutting employees, the center issued the following statement to the bedsides of their patients: “As you may be aware, there will be necessary and planned staff reductions at Westchester Medical Center.  Please be assured that the medical center will continue to have appropriate staffing levels of highly competent care providers and there will be no impact to our services or the level of direct patient care.”

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