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

  1. Customer service run amok.

    FLINT, MI (WNEM) -A nurse is suing Hurley Medical Center over allegations of discrimination.

    A lawsuit filed against Hurley claims she found a note in a patient's file stating, "No African American nurse to take care of baby."

    According to court documents, the nurse was caring for a baby in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit when the baby's father asked to speak with a supervisor. The lawsuit states he told the nurse in charge that he didn't want any African Americans taking care of his baby, then he pulled up a sleeve showing a tattoo believed to be a Swastika.

    The lawsuit states the baby was re-assigned to another nurse.

    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 enough, he didn't mind when he had a Filipina nurse. They way I saw it, he was old, he wasn't going to change, and I wasn't going to make his bigotry my problem. If he didn't want me to take care of him, that was fine with me.
  2. Visit Not_A_Hat_Person profile page

    About Not_A_Hat_Person, RN

    Joined: Dec '08; Posts: 3,524; Likes: 6,144


  3. by   kcdunlap
    An African American nurse is suing a Michigan hospital for folding to the request of a racist parent. The nurse was reportedly reassigned when a father with a swastika tattoo said that African Americans could not take care of his baby.

    All I can say is WOW!!
  4. by   RNewbie
    Did anyone hear about this? I saw it on CNN and found the article online.

    Should patients have the right to refuse a nurse due to their race? I was just thinking that patients are allowed to refuse care based on a nurse's sex due to cultural/religious beliefs so should they have the right to refuse based on race? I am shocked that the hospital complied with this request.
  5. by   Rose_Queen
    Here's the same story from CNN: Lawsuit: Race-based request sidelined Michigan nurse -

    I have to say I'm on the nurse's side on this one. The hospital was wrong in removing the nurse based on the baby's father's racist views. We had this situation come up once with an elective surgery patient. He was told either accept the providers we have, or take your business elsewhere. He chose to go elsewhere (although I don't know where, as he would have heard the same thing at all area hospitals).

    I will admit, if I were the nurse, I would have voluntarily stepped aside, just because the father would have been unpleasant and may have made false allegations. However, the nurse should have had the choice, not the hospital.
  6. by   aachavez
    A nurse is suing her hospital for a race based request made by a patient.

    Any thoughts on this?
  7. by   1pinknurse
    It is 2013 but this does happen. Hasn't happened to me personally but I am bi-racial (half Puerto Rican & half Caucasian) who many presume to be mixed with African American so I can see it happening as a possibility. I have heard of this happening to other nurses in my hospital. This man is plain ignorant and kudos to the nurse for standing up for herself.
  8. by   aachavez
    I am half mexican, and half caucasion, tho most people assume I'm just a white girl. I have experienced some incidents of racism for being 'mixed'.

    But I'm not sure how I feel about this. If a patient asked to be assigned a male/female nurse, and a nurse got reassigned to accomodate the request would a nurse sue?

    Good for the nurse for sticking up for herself, but is the hospital really responsible? All they did was accomodate a patient's request...

    Like I said, I'm not really sure how I feel about this... I would be offended if this had happened to me, but don't know that it's worth a lawsuit.

    I'm curious what the rest of you think.
  9. by   Rose_Queen
  10. by   mjo07
    I think she did the right thing. It is completely ridiculous to have the nurse be reassigned elsewhere, simply because that guy was racist. He should have reassigned himself elsewhere if it really bothered him that much. Also, I don't think the supervisors or management handled the situation very well, I think they should have defended the nurse. It is 2013 and we all know that skin color, whether white, brown, or purple, has nothing to do with anything! This bothers me and I am very happy the nurse did something about it. Good job!
  11. by   elkpark
    I agree that, if the client has a problem with me for any crazy reason, I'm more than happy to step aside because that's the safest option for me. However, I, too, work for an organization that will honor requests for specific kinds of nurses if it's a religious/cultural matter (e.g., if your religion prohibits you having direct contact with a member of the other gender) but, if it's just plain ol' racism/bigotry, you take what (staff) we've got or you are welcome to take your business elsewhere.
  12. by   shoegalRN
    I am OUTRAGED!

    As an African-American nurse, how dare that hospital honor the request of a racist bigot and have that baby re-assigned to another nurse simply because he felt the African-American nurse could not care for the baby based on the color of her skin. Not her nursing skills, but because she is black!

    I hope that nurse get a million dollar settlement and an apology from the hospital. What a way to reward someone for 25 years of service.
  13. by   HeartsOpenWide
    I think it's a sick situation, but the hospital has to honor the patients request; he does have a right to refuse treatment even if its a sick and wrong reason. I suppose the hospital could tell him that there are no other nurses available to care for the child, but e might not believe it if he saw non black nurses working...but why would this nurse want to care for the child with a racist father? I imagine it would be very unpleasant. We have labor patients that refuse male nurses but the nurse never sues the hospital for sexual discrimination...
  14. by   cueballRN
    For people who say they are outraged, as a male nurse there have been several occasions where the patient wanted a female nurse and did not want to have me. Was I outraged? Did I sue my hospital? No. For those outraged, is gender discrimination not as bad as racial? Or is my situation ok just because I'm a man, and its not a female being discriminated against?

    This woman sounds like somebody just fishing for a nice payout from their employer before retiring.