Nurses protest Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s name on San Francisco Hospital

Nurses protest Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s name on San Francisco Hospital
San Francisco General Hospital changed its name to Zuckerberg San Francisco General in 2015 after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan donated $75 million. Some nurses at the hospital began campaigning Tuesday to get Zuckerberg’s name removed in the wake of widespread data breaches at Facebook. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

When Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg donated $75 million to San Francisco General Hospital, it was more than enough to get the facility renamed in his honor.

Having Zuckerberg’s name on the facility is not, however, a welcome sight for every nurse and patient. In fact, the so-called Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital is making some of them very uneasy.

“People are afraid. I’ve spoken with people who have said, ‘I’m afraid to tell my doctor anything, because I don’t know who is going to get that information,’” Zuckerberg General registered nurse Sasha Cuttler told KPIX-TV.

Some nurses at the hospital began campaigning Tuesday to get Zuckerberg’s name removed, the TV station reported.

“It’s fine to have somebody’s name and to accept a donation and fundraising, but that doesn’t mean you can do whatever you like with patient data,” Cuttler said.

Cuttler said other members of the Service Employees International Union 1021 are also standing up for their patients’ rights.

“We don’t think it makes sense for San Francisco General Hospital to be publicly associated with an organization that doesn’t care about confidentiality,” former Zuckerberg General nurse Ed Kinchley told KPIX.

“Confidentiality is so crucial to providing quality health care,” Kinchley added.

What led to this?

The nurses’ and patients’ fears are being fueled in part by the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal that led to the compromise of personal information for tens of millions of Facebook users.

Last week, it was revealed that information a total of 900 patients at SF General and Laguna Honda Hospital had their information compromised. That happened after a hospital vendor gained unauthorized access to the information.

The patient information included “names, dates of birth, medical record numbers and details of their medical conditions, diagnoses, treatment and care plans.” Financial information was not included.

What are people saying?

San Francisco Mayor Mark Farrell said the hospital’s name and recent privacy concerns are two separate issues.

“As a city, we should be supporting and thanking individuals that contribute to, really, the safety of our residents and not demonizing them. That’s the wrong approach,” Farrell told KPIX.

Former San Francisco Supervisor John Avalos said he supports removing the Zuckerberg name although he is not actively pursuing it. He had voted in favor of the name change, the TV station reported.

“I regretted it the moment I voted on it,” Avalos said. “But I also understood that if I were to vote against it, we would lose $75 million to open the hospital up.”

SEIU 1021 wants to get the issue on a ballot for voters to weigh in on as soon as possible. November is the earliest that process could begin, according to reports.