- Washington state Sen. Maureen Walsh, a Republican, has been sent about 1,700 decks of cards.
- She said in a debate last week that nurses in rural hospitals “probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day.”
- Following her comments, a person on Facebook called for sending cards to Walsh. It evidently worked.
- Walsh has since apologized.
- There was also a petition going around asking Walsh to shadow a 12-hour nursing shift. She has said she will do it.
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A Washington state senator is facing backlash for comments she made in a debate last week – in the form of playing cards.
Sen. Maureen Walsh, a Republican, had said that nurses working at hospitals in rural regions “probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day.”
Since then, about 1,700 decks of cards have been sent to her, Walsh’s office said on Wednesday.
On Friday, a video circulated of Walsh discussing her opposition to a bill that would force overtime for nurses and instate mandatory, uninterrupted breaks for them to do things like eat meals.
Walsh said she worried the stipulations outlined in the bill would place a strain on hospitals.
“By putting these types of mandates on a critical access hospital that literally serves a handful of individuals, I would submit to you those nurses probably do get breaks,” she said on the Senate floor. “They probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day.”
Her comments sparked ire and backlash.
Hence the cards. According to CNN, the idea came from a Facebook user named Shy Braaten who wrote an open letter to Walsh on the platform. It appears that post is no longer available.
“I don’t know any nurses who play cards, Senator Walsh,” Braaten wrote in the letter, according to CNN. “I know nurses who care for babies who were born with their spines on the outside of their bodies and brains that won’t stop bleeding. I know nurses who hold infants that can’t stop crying because they were born addicted to heroin and methamphetamines.”
The open letter included a call to action: Send a deck of cards to Walsh, whose PO box was included.
It looks as if the call was heard.
“I like poker as much as anyone, but I think I’m pretty well stocked up right now,” Walsh said in her office’s statement. “One thing’s for sure. It’s a good time to be in the playing-card business.”
She said she was looking into donating the cards to nursing homes and veterans and senior centers.
On Monday, Walsh apologized for her remarks.
“I want to offer my heartfelt apologies to those I offended with my comments on the Senate floor last Tuesday,” she said in a statement. “I was tired, and in the heat of argument on the Senate floor, I said some things about nurses that were taken out of context – but still, they crossed the line.”
As for a viral petition for Walsh to shadow a nurse on a 12-hour shift? In her statement, Walsh said she had seen it and was “happy to accept.”
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