Michigan hospital sued after honoring woman's request for "white nurse only"

  1. 3rd Michigan hospital faces suit alleging it honored patient request for care only by white nurses

    In the lawsuit, Teoka Williams, RN, alleges that on Oct. 2 she heard a patient say she did not want any black caregivers. Ms. Williams says she told the clinical manager, who then spoke to the patient. The clinical manager then reportedly told Ms. Williams not to enter the patient's room or care for her. A white nurse was asked to care for the patient.
    Ms. Williams also alleges that she told the human resources department about the incident and was told "patient requests are honored all the time and that the next time it happened, she would be taken off the assignment altogether," News 5 Cleveland reports.
    Last edit by Brian S. on Aug 17
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    About klone, MSN, RN Pro

    Joined: Apr '03; Posts: 13,011; Likes: 36,443

    89 Comments

  3. by   psu_213
    Wasn't there also a situation a few years ago where a hospital in Flint, Michigan was in the news for honoring a pt request regarding the race of caregivers?

    I ask this in all honesty: is there some reason why this is happening so often in the state of Michigan? Not that it does not happen elsewhere, but it seems like Michigan stories seem to be the only ones in the news.
  4. by   klone
    I remember that parents requested a white nurse for their infant in the NICU, but I don't recall where it took place.
  5. by   Daisy4RN
    I have heard patients who have told their nurses that want a Hispanic, black, Filipino nurse etc. because they are more comfortable with one "of their own". We have always honored their request when possible. I guess we better re-think that.
  6. by   sirI
    Thread moved to Nursing News.
  7. by   Kyrshamarks
    So now as a male RN I can sue when a Muslim family only wants a female nurse? Same difference.
  8. by   Sour Lemon
    I find these cases interesting. I can't seem to form an opinion about what patients should be "allowed" to request ...but I know that I'd rather not take care of a patient who had an inherent dislike of me from the very beginning.
  9. by   llg
    Quote from Sour Lemon
    I find these cases interesting. I can't seem to form an opinion about what patients should be "allowed" to request ...but I know that I'd rather not take care of a patient who had an inherent dislike of me from the very beginning.
    Exactly. That's the driving principle hospitals that I have worked for have used when dealing with such requests -- that they are protecting the staff by honoring the request. If a patient is forced to receive care from someone they do not want caring for them, the patient could not only file a lawsuit against the hospital ... but also file charges of assault against the staff member ... or at least level complaint after complaint about the quality of care provided by that individual staff member. Sometimes it is better to honor the patient's request even though the bigotry behind the request goes against our personal beliefs.

    I also wouldn't want to provide care for a patient who was "out to get me" for some reason -- not matter how wrong their thinking was.
  10. by   Daisy4RN
    Quote from llg
    Exactly. That's the driving principle hospitals that I have worked for have used when dealing with such requests -- that they are protecting the staff by honoring the request. If a patient is forced to receive care from someone they do not want caring for them, the patient could not only file a lawsuit against the hospital ... but also file charges of assault against the staff member ... or at least level complaint after complaint about the quality of care provided by that individual staff member. Sometimes it is better to honor the patient's request even though the bigotry behind the request goes against our personal beliefs.

    I also wouldn't want to provide care for a patient who was "out to get me" for some reason -- not matter how wrong their thinking was.
    I agree with you, but I don't understand the legal basis for this nurse being allowed to sue the hospital. If these cases are being upheld in the court then what is the hospital to do, who's "rights" will stand, the patients or the staff.
  11. by   Wuzzie
    Why would anyone fight for the right to take care of hateful bigot? Isn't that a bit over the top?
  12. by   brownbook
    I wasn't working the night it happened. Many years ago we had a patient in ICU who didn't want a black nurse......ha ha. The staff that night just happened to be 3 black nurses plus a black respiratory therapist. I don't know what happened.
  13. by   caliotter3
    Quote from brownbook
    I wasn't working the night it happened. Many years ago we had a patient in ICU who didn't want a black nurse......ha ha. The staff that night just happened to be 3 black nurses plus a black respiratory therapist. I don't know what happened.
    When our LOL in the LTC facility would request no male caregivers, I always warned them that there could be a situation where only a male caregiver was available. While that was an unlikely scenario, it was a possibility. Boy, talk about telling somebody something they didn't want to hear!
  14. by   Davey Do
    Quote from Sour Lemon
    I know that I'd rather not take care of a patient who had an inherent dislike of me from the very beginning.
    Oh really, Sour Lemon? Really?

    Had a elderly female patient on geriatric psych who loudly complained about everybody and everything. She was an involuntary admit and she threatened to report the staff to administration, threatened lawsuits, and the whole shebang.

    My work wife Eleanor, who has the patience of a saint, said the patient was evil incarnate.

    At one point, I took her meds to her room, got her an extra blanket, and was oh so sweet to her.

    Before I left her room, I enjoyed animatedly saying the line with a toothpaste smile and without opening my mouth, "Is there anything else that I can do for you? I have the time!"

    To my surprise, the patient actually laughed!

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