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mark zuckerberg

Nurses Are Protesting a Hospital Named After Mark Zuckerberg. Seriously.

Zuckerberg hospital

There’s a bit of an uproar happening over Mark Zuckerberg in San Francisco, but it has nothing to do with Russian ads on Facebook or data breaches.

Rather, nurses are protesting over the name change at the former San Francisco General Hospital, which was renamed the Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center in 2015.

The 34-year-old Facebook CEO and his pediatrician wife, Chan, gave $75 million to the hospital. As SFGate reported back then, “hospital officials believe it is the largest single private gift from individuals to a public hospital in the nation.” San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee was quoted as saying, “It’s incredibly gracious they have recognized the importance of this hospital to the entire city.”

What a difference two years makes.

Facebook’s recent controversies — everything from the Cambridge Analytica scandal to the Russian ads in the U.S. presidential elections — has led many people to form a very negative opinion of the 34-year-old CEO. After he testified in front of Congress, the Internet mocked him endlessly.

Zuckerberg, who is worth some $71 billion, is one of the richest people in the world. When he’s not ruling social media, he and Chan are parents of two young girls, Max and August, who they are raising in a Jewish interfaith family. On Facebook (obviously) he’s shared many Jewish moments with his family, like when he gave his elder daughter Max a kiddush cup in September 2017.

On Saturday, a group of nurses at the Zuckerberg Hospital rallied to change the hospital’s name. One former nurse, Ed Kinchley, explained, “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… Confidentiality is so crucial to providing quality health care.”

Another nurse, Sasha Cuttler, explained, “I know people who go to the doctor and they’re afraid to tell the doctor what’s going on, because they don’t know who is going to get that information.”

Wait… what? There are, of course, many reasons to criticize Zuckerberg (and, of course, Facebook). But just because a hospital is named after Zuckerberg does not mean in any way that hospital is taking directives from Zuckerberg, or embodying his policies, or working in any formal way with Facebook. They were simply honoring Zuckerberg and Chan for their generous gift.

A statement from the hospital confirms this: Zuckerberg’s and Chan’s names were added to the hospital “to reflect both gratitude and historic importance of their gift in better serving the city’s people” and that the hospital’s “most important commitment is to our patients, to ensuring their well-being and to protecting their privacy.”

…Obviously.

Header Image from University of California San Francisco. Photo by Noah Berger, September 2016.

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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