Nurses seek to challenge mandatory vaccine policy for hospitals

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POUGHKEEPSIE – A nurse at Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie has started a crowdsourcing fundraiser to pay for an attorney to challenge the hospital’s parent company, Nuvance Health, which is going to require all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Nuvance Health is also the parent company of Northern Dutchess Hospital in Rhinebeck , and Putnam Hospital Center in Carmel, announced its vaccination policy at the end of July.

Vassar nurse Chelsea Patton wants to challenge the mandate. “I don’t believe in any vaccines and this goes against my belief,” Patton told Mid-Hudson News.  Patton also serves as the communications chairwoman for her union at the hospital, the New York State Nurses Association.  She said she has “an obligation to fight for her rights.

“As we have cared for our community, we are now asking you to care for us. The healthcare workers of Vassar Brothers Medical Center and Northern Dutchess Hospital are seeking funds to support us in our mission of seeking liberty for our bodies,” Patton pleaded.

Patton is seeking to raise $80,000 for legal expenses related to the challenge.  In two hours after the GoFundMe page began, the nurse has already raised more than $1,200 to hire attorney Patricia Finn from Rockland County.  Finn has gained notoriety in vaccination cases in both state and federal courts.  The law firm assists people in filing medical and religious exemptions and has challenged numerous vaccine mandates.

According to Finn, “Millions of lives have been injured by vaccines, not saved by vaccines,” and the attorney has created the Vaccine Rights Legal Defense Fund.

Patton says that Nuvance has already established deadlines for the vaccine policy.  The deadline for employees to file religious or medical exemptions is August 25.  Unless an employee is granted the exemption, he or she will need to have their first dose of the COVID vaccine by September 3.  All employees, according to Patton, need to be fully vaccinated on or before October 1.  Any employee that misses the October deadline, she said, will be placed on a two-week administrative leave followed by termination.