Hospital Bans Black Nurses From Caring for White Baby at Father's Request - page 4

Customer service run amok. I'm a Black nurse in a very white state. During my tour of Nursing Home Hell, one resident added a note to his chart saying "Caucasian caregivers only." Oddly... Read More

  1. by   LadyFree28
    Legally, they CANNOT accommodate based on race.

    About 8 years ago, I worked at a hospital that the father did not want ANY BLACKS on the unit when his wife was giving birth to his child. The units and higher ups did "the customer is always right" and sent all of the staff that was black home. This was at a Magnet hospital. It got wind, and the NAACP and ACLU jumped in. Precedent for a policy to not allow those request based on bias to be allowed, with exception to religious reasons.

    Last time I recalled, Neo-Nazis, Skinheads, and the KKK were not in the list of religious organizations. Please enlighten me if they are...

    I am African American/Black. I never had any one deny care from me because of my ethnicity; however, one 20 y.o. pt denied me because he wanted someone "older"... I had suspicions because he befriended a Neo-Nazi I took care of, and had an excellent relationship with pretty much everyone, regardless of race. This is in a Rehab hospital, so the stay is at least 3 months, so you get to know the people that are basically your peers, and your caregivers. He had asked me WHY I was taking care of "Tim" and was asking probing question, but hit with the old boundary and HIPPA lines. Mind you, this was BEFORE I ever took care if him, about a week before. I got him that night, and he seemed very uncomfortable, yet stayed on the call bell, requested meds he could not have, fully explained that to him, etc.

    He had enough of me by 1 am...took him two hrs, lol. I thought back to that conversation, but it did not bother me at all. He got a nurse who was "older", like "mom older" (that's what he requested)...he had to talk to the nursing supervisor (who was black) and he was apologetic, flustered, etc, didn't want to make it about race, race doesn't matter, etc. (I was eavesdropping outside), but he got what he wanted, but went out of his way to be nice to me whenever I saw him. This was about 6 years ago.

    If it was based on race preference, I was unaffected about it...I came from a hospital that had to set a precedence about treating your black caregivers equally. I am fully aware of the "alleged challenges" that my ethnicity can cause...I guess I always take the high road of "better to avoid me" karma syndrome...I'm going to give excellent care, and you can watch me have a family profusely thank me and treat me well.

    Currently, in my new position, (Magnet...everywhere in my area ) there was a presentation about diversity, respecting their diverse employment make-up. The presentation/discussion was for an hour, emphasizing how they do not tolerate racism, etc, take accusations seriously, etc, and they will tell people that they are welcome to go somewhere else...this hospital has the "luxury" (shrugs) of practicing what they preach...they take care of over 100 nationalities, and have staff of a heavily minority make up, in a predominantly black city-if racial bias to outright racism were to be expected, it would tarnish their rep. Not saying that this hospital would do that, but a lot of hospitals are putting the bottom line over their employees, and certainly for not the right reasons...and this is number ONE.

    IMO, this would be an excellent precedence if this victory were to occur. In this day and age in our difficult times, we can all attest that most if the time the color that matters the most is it's best that his hospital lose that 3-figure hospital bill, rather than have to pay a seven-eight figure settlement and legal costs and fines based on discrimination.
  2. by   LadyFree28

    The problem with just ignoring it and going about you business is that nothing gets done to fix the problem that way. I believe that is all of our jobs, everyone single one of us as part of a collective society to do our parts to fix problems such as these. While I know we all cant be responsible for fixing everything, we can fix what's in front of us.

    In my experience, I've been taken care of by the best male nurses in my lifetime...male nurses deserve a place at the bedside equal time!
  3. by   juan de la cruz
    As I was digging the internet for similar cases, it sounds like the plaintiff may have a leg to stand on based on this previous case:

    CHANEY v. PLAINFIELD HEALTHCARE CENTER, No. 09-3661., July 20, 2010 - US 7th Circuit | FindLaw

    A short analysis of the above case is found here: Racial Discrimination and the Hostile Work Environment: Employers May Be Responsible for the Actions of Their Customers and Vendors | The National Law Review
  4. by   NurseDirtyBird
    I hate to stick up for the bad guy here, but patients have the right to be comfortable with their caregiver, even if their discomfort is based on something stupid.
    I had a patient with psych issues demand a different nurse because she said I was reading her thoughts.
    Obviously I wasn't reading her mind (I'd have been afraid to even if I could), but she got a different nurse, one that she was more comfortable with.
    Now racism is not the same as mental illness (or maybe it is, who knows?), but the fact remains that feeling distrustful of your caregiver is a hindrance to recovery.
  5. by   anotherone
    To the posters that say bias is only allowed for religious purposes , is that investigated? not going to lie, i would prefer a female nurse put in a foley, a female ob/gyn or urologist. none of these preferences are religious based to me. would / should they still be obliged? we have had pts request no male caregivers including for things like giving meds or starting ivs ... why should that be allowed but not other preferences.
  6. by   anotherone
    how should this he handeled? the times it has happened on my unit, the pts nurse tells the charge nurse and trys to switch the assignment. if pt or family came up and requested a change in caregiver it might be done and has been done to all of our inconvenience for things other than race. i am not sure how to go about handeling it ? if pt refused care from a nurse and wasnt assigned anotherone do they have any grounds for neglect suits or anything like that? imo , the times i have been in the undesired group i prefered to know it and would refuse such an assignment .
  7. by   barbyann
    The correct response to the father would have been "We are, by law, not allowed to differentiate our patients or our staff based on the pigmentation of their skin" "We, as a healthcare entity, treat the caregiver and the patient with equal respect."

    If he continued to protest...."Sir, we cannot guarantee the ethnicity, religious tendencies, political affiliations, or the gender specifics of any employee" "But I can guarantee you that we have a little of everything here and we do just fine."

    Sigh, when will nurses get treated with dignity.
  8. by   DoGoodThenGo
    Came in for the title, then saw the headline "Flint, MI"... and thought is this guy (the father) nuts?
  9. by   LadyFree28
    Quote from juan de la cruz
    As I was digging the internet for similar cases, it sounds like the plaintiff may have a leg to stand on based on this previous case:

    CHANEY v. PLAINFIELD HEALTHCARE CENTER, No. 09-3661., July 20, 2010 - US 7th Circuit | FindLaw

    A short analysis of the above case is found here: Racial Discrimination and the Hostile Work Environment: Employers May Be Responsible for the Actions of Their Customers and Vendors | The National Law Review
    ^This is an excellent example!!!

    We need to make sure that pts are autonomous; however with The Patients' Bill of Rights and RESPONSIBILITIES, pts (and their families) have a right to treat their caregivers with respect:

    EVERY state and org has the same is a federal law...kind of like the constitution-the right AND responsibilities of abiding by the "law of the land-seem that we like to "forget" the responsibility part in these documents, VERY ironic!

    NEVER, NEVER EEEEEEVVVVEERR FORGET TO GENTLY REMIND your patients and their family members they are responsible to conduct and treat the healthcare team with respect at all times.

    Also, employees are OBLIGATED (not optional) to create a safe and non hostile environment under the Civil Right Acts of 1964...

    Any ****facing and disrespect and obstruction that anyone is facing is NOT to be is ILLEGAL and grounds for fines, violations, as well as monetary compensation...Forewarned is Forearmed!!! Use your tools wisely and assertively!!!
  10. by   wanderlust99
    I usually roll my eyes at lawsuits but I definitely am on the side of the nurse in this one. Her management should have spoken to the man and tried to resolve the situation, let him know that they will not make patient assignments based on skin color, and ban him from visiting if he brings it up again. He is interferring with patient care. And to make assignments based on skin color? Clearly racist.

    Imagine a charge nurse making patient assignments, for an entire month, based on skin color. I think she'll win this one and hope she does. Plus think how she must feel, and how her employer made her feel. Ouch.
  11. by   mariebailey
    I think the hospital condoned the behavior, in a sense, by giving into the parent's demand. It is okay to assert that certain behaviors and requests are not permissible and still provide quality health care, am I right?
  12. by   Prairienurse1989
    This is the way I see it.
    , if we worked in any other profession that man would have been told in no uncertain terms where he could put his racist request. Imagine if you went to a restaurant and asked for only a white waitress. Welcome to the grey area of nurse abuse, socially acceptable and available everywhere.
  13. by   VivaLasViejas
    Holy mackerel........I can't believe that all this should even be an issue in 2013. Whatever is the matter with people? How absolutely ridiculous that anyone still thinks like the window-licker in the article mentioned in the OP.