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Grammy Award Winner Patti LaBelle to Speak at National Nurses Day Event
May 6 at 10 a.m.

Arlington Author Suzanne Gordon Discusses Safety in Numbers: Nurse-to-Patient Ratios and the Future of Health Care
State House Rally for Safe Patient Limits to Follow at 1 p.m.

Boston, MA - Multiple Grammy-award winning singer, actress and author Patti LaBelle will join several hundred nurses, patient advocates, students and seniors to celebrate National Nurses Day on May 6 at the Hynes Auditorium to celebrate the difference nurses make in patient care.  

Ms. LaBelle will deliver the keynote address and will share her insight and personal experiences on the impact nurses make on the quality of patient care. Ms. LaBelle is the author of Don’t Block the Blessings, a book that chronicles her personal story of emotional survival following the deaths of her mother, three sisters and best friend to cancer and diabetes. Arlington journalist and author Suzanne Gordon will discuss her new book, Safety in Numbers: Nurse-to-Patient Ratios and the Future of Health Care, which is the first book to review and analyze the arguments for and against legislation to set safe limits on nurses’ patient assignments. It examines the cost benefits and effectiveness of ratios in California and Victory Australia, the two places where nurse staffing ratios are regulated by law.

Following the National Nurses Day event will be a State House Rally for Safe Patient Limits. Patient safety advocates are urging lawmakers to pass legislation that will improve the quality of patient care and set limits on the number of patients a hospital nurse must care for at one time.  Advocates are rallying support for The Patient Safety Act, which would call for the state’s Department of Public Health (DPH) to set a safe limit on the number of patients a nurse is assigned to care for at once.  It would also ban the dangerous practice of mandatory overtime, increase the number of nursing faculty and improve nurse recruitment. Last week, the bill was approved by the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing, an important step on the bill’s path to becoming law. 

The legislation is supported by the Coalition to Protect Massachusetts Patients, which includes more than 100 of the top consumer and public health organizations in the Commonwealth.

The hospital industry is trying to derail The Patient Safety Act, putting thousands of patients’ lives at risk. An estimated two thousand people die every year in Massachusetts hospitals because of avoidable medical errors and infections they get while in the hospital. These numbers are directly attributable to understaffing of nurses.

Who:  Grammy-winner Patti LaBelle; author Suzanne Gordon; Patient Advocates; Registered Nurses from throughout the Commonwealth
What:  National Nurses Day Celebration
Where:  Hynes Convention Center and State House Steps
When: May 6, 2008:  Gordon speaks at 10 a.m.; Labelle at 11 a.m.; State House Rally at 1 p.m.

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