Reasheal Lehmann joined the line of people on East 59th Street in front of the University of Chicago Medical Center. An emergency room nurse at the hospital, Lehmann wore bright red scrubs emblazoned with her union's logo, National Nurses United; others wore raincoats and parkas, trying to stay warm on an unusually cold March evening. As the sun went down, the University buildings glowed with yellow light like a cathedral. More nurses ended their shifts and they also came outside.
Staff nurses at the medical center, which is affiliated with one of the nation's most prestigious universities, are in union negotiations with the hospital and one of their key issues is staffing levels. The candlelight vigil was intended to bring public attention to what they say is a crisis in emergency room care on the city's South Side.