VIDEO: Amid strike, nurses forced to say goodbye to special patient from picket line

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Wednesday, January 11, 2023
Amid strike, nurses forced to say goodbye to special patient from picket line
N.J. Burkett has more on the emotional moment from the picket line of the NYC nurses strike.

UPPER EAST SIDE (WABC) -- The nurses strike impacting two of New York City's biggest hospitals entered day three on Wednesday.

Negotiations resumed at Montefiore Medical Center and Mount Sinai, but the biggest sticking point remains the patient-to-nurse ratio. The union said late Wednesday afternoon that they won't reach an agreement at Montefiore until those staffing concerns are addressed.

However, for one brief moment, striking nurses at Mount Sinai left the picket line and crossed Fifth Avenue.

It was all to say goodbye to little April Hernandez. She was born 14 months ago with a lung disorder and left Mount Sinai after more than a year in the neo-natal intensive care unit.

They cheered, some with tears in their eyes, as the little girl was gently placed in a waiting ambulance for the trip home.

Among them were the nurses who cared for April who were forced to say goodbye from the picket line.

"It's heartbreaking that we couldn't, you know, see her in there on her last day," said nurse Bianca Russo. "But, I mean, I think this spoke tons-what just happened just now."

"This is so wonderful and we're all standing here, emotional, and we want to cry because she's leaving," said nurse Meghan Hurlbut. "But we're so proud of what we do, and the relationships we build and the, really, the joy that we are able to help these families bring-in really, really, really difficult times."

It all comes on day three of the strike of 7,000 unionized nurses-at Mount Sinai in Manhattan and Montefiore in The Bronx-demanding better wages and working conditions.

Specifically, they want guaranteed staffing ratios. The hospitals have offered salary increases of just over 19%. Administrators have agreed to increase staffing levels-but without specific staffing ratios.

Yeni Garcia is April's mother.

"I'm really like trembling right now because it's emotional how I see all these nurses and the passion that they have for the babies is so incredible," Garcia said. "And they have to be running around, no break, no nothing. They don't stop. They have no stop during the day, it's horrible. You need to, they need to stop this. They need to give the nurses what they deserve."

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