Patient Dies During Nursing Strike

This is a rush transcript from "The Five," September 26, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BOB BECKEL, CO-HOST: Welcome back to "The Five." Bob finally gets to have his segment.

We talked before on the show about the union and labor disputes. And there was a terrible situation this weekend. Here is what happened. Nurses at an Oakland, California, hospital went on strike, which they have every right to do, Eric.

So replacement nurses were brought in and while they were striking a cancer patient was given the wrong medicine and died. Of course concerns over patient care and strikes are brought to the forefront.

Before I turn this over to Eric who will go on and blame unions, let me make a point. Every day in America fully staffed hospitals lose someone because of mistakes. A lot of people die with the best care in the world because mistakes are made. When you have millions of people, it will happen. The idea someone suggested that this would be because of a union strike, they're out of their minds.

ERIC BOLLING, CO-HOST: In this case it happened to be. This person wasn't a new patient. They had been receiving medication and the replacement nurse made a mistake. They gave the patient the wrong medicine and they died.

Clearly a kiss someone died because of a union strike.

DANA PERINO, CO-HOST: Wait. What if the regular nurse though had got a cold and called in sick because she didn't want to affect other patients and the same thing happened? You could make the argument.

BECKEL: You got him.

BOLLING: One nurse doesn't walk in and this nurse is responsible for the one patient. You're sick, I'll --

PERINO: Let me help you out here.


One of the things about, one of the problems about dealing with people's health and safety and security is one of the reasons in the Bush administration when we created department of Homeland Security, President Bush did not allow the workers on the front fighting war on terrorism to be able to unionize and strike because of concerns for public health and safety.

KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE, CO-HOST: Should that apply here?

PERINO: I don't know. I agree with Bob they have a right to unionize.

BOLLING: It applies with air traffic controllers, too.

PERINO: It does.

BOLLING: Let me say this. There is no organization in American history that contributed more to workplace safety than the labor unions in the country. Not one. You couldn't even come close.


GUILFOYLE: But if people strike to do this, they have to properly qualified. It's unacceptable this woman died.

BECKEL: There were doctors who were not on strike. There was order to give the patient medicine. And, by the way, they don't work 24 hours a day.

GREG GUTFELD, CO-HOSY: You can argue this two ways. You could say this shows how valuable striking nurses are or how horrible the nurses are for striking.

It's meaningless. We don't know what happened there. I don't think we can blame the nurses. I think it's the toughest job in the world to be a nurse. If anybody deserves to be paid as much as you can, be a nurse.

GUILFOYLE: I totally agree. Oncology wards, cancer wards, they do incredible things. But if you are in a situation like that, many are intensive care patient, that's something that needs to have to be attended to by someone properly qualified. It's the hospital's responsibility to replace --

BECKEL: We need to move to a topic you want to talk about.


BECKEL: The McKenzie survey out saying one-third of employers will drop insurance for the employees under the health care reform act. Let me make a point about McKenzie. This is a consulting firm whose mission is to cover their ass on every report they put out.

GUILFOYLE: Here we go.

BECKEL: These guys who predicted after a great deal of study predicted there would be no housing crisis. What McKenzie says matters nothing to me, but secondly the fact is it may be to get off the employers with a better care getting in the shape. I think it will be 10 to 15 percent.

PERINO: I think it's more. I finished reading Governor Mitch Daniels book and he created a flexible program for the state employees and they are looking at whether or not it would be better off for them savings wise. I think the real point of Obamacare at the outset was to end employer-funded health care. I'm not questioning it --

GUTFELD: Make people reliable on government.

BECKEL: But most employers have to stop to think about this. They are competing for good workers. At the high levels they are competing for good workers. If you don't offer health care plan you lose to competitor who does.

PERINO: Not if everybody doesn't have them.

BOLLING: Do you understand what this means? If the study is right, the financial impact is overwhelming.

BECKEL: It wouldn't be overwhelming.


BOLLING: If this number is right and it's happens to be Republican, we have people we talk to, to do this. Business owners say forget it. The number is $5 trillion.

BECKEL: That's just ridiculous. I don't know of a small businessman who doesn't say he will get rid of the insurance plan because of Obama's, and it's all politics and --

GUILFOYLE: Wait to see what happens.


GUILFOYLE: What was that?

BECKEL: More on "The Five" coming up. It will be titillating.

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