Oakland hospital says nurse 'no longer works there' after anti-BLM posts called racist

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Demonstrators lined the sidewalk in front of Alta Bates Summit Medical Center on Friday to protest an anti-Black Lives Matter social media post made by an employee.

The woman has been identified as ICU nurse Allison Cook.

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"Racist nurses have to go!" chanted protestors as they carried signs and handed out flyers exhibiting Cook's posts.

In one, Cook, while apparently working at the hospital, is shown giving the middle finger. In another, she writes "F**k BLM" referring to the Black Lives Matter movement.

"It was overtly racist and Sutter hasn't come out and publicly decried it and that's why we're out here and Sutter is still protecting her in some way," said protest organizer Payton Silket.

According to sources, Cook worked at the Oakland hospital as recently as last weekend and has been the subject of multiple complaints from co-workers.

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In a written statement, the hospital did not identify her by name but said she would "no longer be working" for Sutter Health. It's unclear if Cook was terminated, or allowed to resign.

"She didn't get no discipline. She got moved to the side. And we think because they lie we don't know. That's what they say," said Leslie Silket, a nursing instructor and protest organizer.

"Human resources issues are confidential, they're sensitive as you all know," said Alta Bates Summit CEO David Clark, who did come outside and talk with the demonstrators directly.

"Everything that happens inside these walls is to provide quality and compassionate care to our people," said Clark. "It doesn't matter the color of their skin, their race, their religion."

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Clark talked to demonstrators for about five minutes, but never said what they wanted to hear, specifically about Cook, and the circumstances around her departure from Alta Bates Summit.

Cook and the Oakland chapter of the union, National Nurses United, did not respond to our multiple requests for comment.

The California Nurses Association released this statement in response to Cook's actions:

Our organization opposes racially discriminatory behavior in any form. We believe that all patients have the right to be treated equitably and with dignity, and should never have to worry that their health care providers are giving them lesser or unsafe care because of their race or ethnicity, or any other factors or identifiers.

As a profession rooted in a long tradition of championing the health and safety of our communities, nurses are committed to changing conditions that hurt our patients and prevent them from achieving health in all aspects of their lives. We know our racist society harms the physical, mental, economic, and social health of our Black, Brown, and Indigenous patients of color, whether it comes in the form of voter suppression laws or our money-driven health care system.

Nurses' core values are of caring, compassion, and respect toward all our patients. Patients trust us with their lives at some of their most vulnerable moments, and we share a unique bond with them, a relationship that we value, honor, and hold sacred. Nurses who don't share these values are in the wrong profession.

We applaud and stand in solidarity with nurses who are now raising their voices in their workplaces, communities, and out in the streets to defend Black lives. They are shining examples of nurses doing what we do best: advocating for our patients.
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