Nurses’ families tell sad stories of hardships since leave without pay
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Families of several nurses who have been placed on leave without pay after they failed to comply with the Governor’s mandate for all first responders and health workers to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 — including the booster shot, have spoken out for the first time since this happened a week ago.
A Leone mother who’s daughter is a nurse told Samoa News that she’s not happy with the decision to place her daughter on leave without pay because of the Governor’s mandate.
“My daughter is the only breadwinner in our family and she was the only person who provided everything for our family including food and money to pay our bills. However, things changed in our family because my daughter is not working and we’re run out of food,” the mother said with tears in her eyes.
Calling the decision ridiculous, the 56-year-old mother believes that the governor must reconsider his decision and amend the mandate because of the burden now on her family.
According to the mother, she called the LBJ Tropical Medical Center the next day after her daughter was sent home and asked to speak to the LBJ Acting CEO but the lady who answered the phone informed her that the “boss” was in a meeting.
“The next day I called again and I was given the same answer, the boss was having a meeting. The third and the fourth day I called, it was the same answer and that’s why I decided to reach out to the media for help,” the mother said.
She continued, “My daughter did not bring the virus into the territory. It was our own government leaders who decided to open up our borders, which allowed the virus to enter the territory, and these are the same leaders who turned around and created this mandate to stop my daughter from working because she did not take her third shot and this is ridiculous.”
“Our family is suffering because of the governor’s mandate and my daughter, a nurse for over 12 years now is placed on leave without pay and in the next two weeks, our family will run out of food supplies and if our government leaders do not do anything to help our family, we will seek legal advise on what is the next step for us.’
Another family shared the same feeling as the mother from Leone. This time, the husband of a nurse who has served at LBJ for over 15 years.
According to the husband, things changed for his family ever since his wife was placed on leave without pay. He said he knows his wife very well and she’s not opposed to the third shot, she is just waiting for the right time to take it.
“The governor’s mandate was too harsh for me and my family, because our young and poor family depend on the money we get from our pay checks to support our 4 young children and right now, things have changed because my wife is no longer employed,” the husband from Nu’uuli said.
He said the booster shot doesn’t stop the nurses from spreading the virus so he’s confused as to why there is such a focus on the booster shots.
“LBJ is already short on nurses. So why make it even more worse by placing my wife and other nurses on leave without pay while the need for more nurses to serve our people is still there. This is illegal,” the husband said.
A senior nurse at the LBJ said the governor’s mandate was given to all frontline and health workers. The problem is how LBJ is implementing the policy.
Some nurses believe that the decision is just politics, while others believe that the decision violates their Constitutional rights and the government must reconsider the move.
One nurse told Samoa News last week,“They just came to us and told us not to come to work anymore and we will be on leave without pay because we did not get our third COVID shot,” the nurse said.
“I worked so hard for my annual leave and sick leave for all these years of my service and now they did this to me and other fellow co-workers.
“This is ridiculous and our government leaders must do something about this,” she stated.