NurseA nurse from Michigan is claiming that she was treated unfairly and is suing a hospital after it agreed to a man’s request that his baby not be cared for by an African-American.

Tonya Battle, who has worked at Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan for 25 years, filed a lawsuit against her managers for race-based discrimination, CNN reports. According to the complaint, a man approached the nurse while she was caring for his child in the neonatal intensive care unit at the hospital. He asked to speak to her supervisor and allegedly told her that he did not want any African Americans taking care of his baby. After the incident, Battle was reassigned.

A note reportedly appeared on the baby’s medical chart stating: “Please, no African-American nurses to care for … baby per dad’s request.” The order reportedly lasted for a month.

Battle’s attorney Julie Gafkay told CNN affiliate WNEM that the nurse was distraught by what happened.

“She was very upset. She was very offended,” Gafkay said.

The hospital later changed its mind after their lawyer objected the decision. The case is currently ongoing.

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  • Honestly, I am not surprised practices like this still goes on in hospital. My mom work at a hospital and this patient’s husband asked for a specific nurse because he wanted a specific type of nurse i.e. white but the acting supervisor told him you either get the nurse I assigned you or take care of your wife yourself…the guy sat there with a pout and mean mug on his face the entire time and let the nurse do her job…so no this isn’t suprising at all but how you handle people like this are…

  • Karen Brown

    This is tricky. I worked in nursery/ neonatal intensive care for almost thirty years. Patients can “fire” their nurses, just like they can “fire” their doctors. In that thirty years I got “fired” three times, once because the mother of the child was upset because I could not let her minor son into the nursery to visit. My feelings were hurt each time. But you do not gel with everyone and it’s best to be reassigned in those cases. But the nurses in charge could have called a meeting, explained the situation, and worked out a solution with all concerned. Unfortunately, the atmosphere of healthcare these days is one of pleasing the patient and families.

    • hookemhorns

      The correct response from the hospital administration should have been, “sir, your baby will be cared for by whomever is on duty. If you can’t accept that, (insert hospital name here) is not the facility for you and your family.”

    • @Karen Brown

      A lot of the commentators don’t seem to understand that while there are laws against discrimination, there are *a lot* of laws and practices protecting patient’s rights, as you stated.

      Those of us in these professions are the ones who understand what is actually going on (that people can truly be sued/be barred from employment for anything).

    • Oh Well

      I do understand employment law and your interpretation of those laws are off, sorry

    • The issue isn’t employment laws. The problem here are laws and common practices protecting patient’s rights and demands.

    • Oh Well

      Larry Dubin, a law professor at University of Detroit Mercy’s School of Law, called the hospital’s actions, if true, “morally repugnant.”

      “The patient’s father has the right to select the hospital to treat the child. The father does not have the right to exercise control over the hospital in discrimination of its employees,” he said.

    • Oh Well

      The hospital could have, and should have, made their position clear that they could not employ any discriminatory practices and left it up to the father as to whether he could comply with the hospital’s policy. Thus, whatever happened, this would be on the dad, not the hospital.”

  • Roxie

    Maybe thisis because race relations are so bad Whites just don’t trust Blacks to do anything in their best interest.

    • Oh Well

      HUH? Whites not trusting blacks…wow. I guess when you oppress a group of people for a long period of time you tend to get nervous.

    • b

      Whites don’t trust blacks to do anything? funny how this white man doesn’t want a black nurse taking care of his baby but throughout history it was the black nannies and black slaves taking care of the white babies BUT whites don’t trust blacks to do anything?

  • The Bishop

    The hospital administration should have made the parents choose between two decisions: 1) for their baby to be cared for by any of their competent/capable/certified staff regardless of race, sex, religion, or creed. OR 2) for their baby to be discharged and help them arrange for further care at another facility they choose. This is all money BS…hospital wants the the revenue and I’m sure have in its mind to help the patient. But to surrender to an absurd request is dumb…and when the hospital agreed to this..that made them dumber!!! I’m an RN and sadly…I have come across this issue a few times…for being a male and minority RN.