Nurses in Gilroy host vigil as St. Louise's goes up for sale

Nurses in Gilroy host vigil as St. Louise's goes up for sale

GILROY, Calif. - Nurses from St. Louise Hospital in Gilroy held a vigil Thursday in light of the news that the hospital's current owner is selling the non-profit hospital.

They say the hospital's current owner --- a Catholic organization called Daughters of Charity --  is a nonprofit organization and the nurses fear that whatever for-profit company purchases St. Louise won't share the same vision.

Currently, St. Louise serves a largely uninsured and low-income population.

Donna Fischer has been at the hospital since the early 80's as a nurse in
the ICU. She's seen six buy-outs, but said the Daughters of Charity have made a commitment to serve the poor. Now she's worried that the owners aren't necessarily looking for a buyer with the same vision.

Nurses had the option to leave and look for jobs elsewhere before the sale happens, but some - like Fischer -- don't want to leave the community. 

Still, she admits that it's a tough battle financially for a non-profit hospital to survive in this economy -- particularly given the costs of health care.

Currently, St. Louise's is the only in-patient hospital with an emergency room in the area, and it's a 30 or 40 minute drive to the next closest one.

Daughters of Charity did not return calls from reporter Cassandra Arsenault Thursday.

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