FLINT, Mich. — An African-American nurse who is suing a Michigan hospital because she said it agreed to a man’s request that no African-American nurses care for his newborn recalled Monday that she was stunned by her employer’s actions.
“I didn’t even know how to react,” said Tonya Battle, 49, a veteran of the neonatal intensive care unit and a nearly 25-year employee of the Hurley Medical Center in Flint.
Battle’s lawsuit states a note was posted on the assignment clipboard reading “No African American nurse to take care of baby,” according to the eight-page complaint against the medical center.
Hurley, which according to its website was founded in 1908 and is a 443-bed teaching hospital, released a brief statement Monday, saying that it “does not comment on past or current litigation.”
Battle said she was working as a registered nurse in Hurley’s neonatal intensive care unit Oct. 31, when a man walked into the NICU, where Battle was at an infant’s bedside. He reached toward the child, according to the lawsuit filed in Genesee County (Mich.) Circuit Court last month.
“I introduced myself to him. ‘Hi, I’m Tonya and I’m taking care of your baby. Can I see your (identification) band?,’ ” Battle said, referring to the hospital-issued identification used to identify infants’ parents. “And he said in return, ‘And I need to see your supervisor.’ ”
Perplexed by his curtness, she asked for the charge nurse, who spoke separately to the man.
When the charge nurse returned, she told Battle that the father didn’t want African Americans to care for his child. Further, the charge nurse told Battle that he had rolled up his sleeve to expose what appeared to be a swastika.
“I felt like I froze,” Battle said. “I just was really dumbfounded. I couldn’t believe that’s why he was so angry (and) that’s why he was requesting my charge nurse. I think my mouth hit the floor. It was really disbelief.”
The charge nurse passed the request to her supervisor, and Battle was reassigned, according to the complaint.
Even after hospital officials removed the sign that had been placed for a short time on the assignment chart, Battle and other black nurses were not assigned to care for the baby for about a month “because of their race,” according to the lawsuit. Battle is seeking punitive damages for emotional stress, mental anguish, humiliation and damage to her reputation.
Battle said colleagues have told her they were surprised at the hospital’s stand and they have been supportive. But she said she felt the issue was important enough to pursue the matter legally because she expected Hurley to have turned down such a request.
“What flashed in my mind is, ‘What’s next? A note on the water fountain that says ‘No blacks?’ Or a note on the bathroom that says ‘No blacks’?” she said.
Larry Dubin, a law professor at University of Detroit Mercy 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.
The case “puts into tension two different facets of the law,” said Lance Gable, an associate professor specializing in health law at Wayne State University Law School.
Patients choose their doctors, he said. Some women prefer to see female gynecologists, for example.
“But there are also laws prohibiting discrimination,” he added, citing the 1964 Civil Rights Act, among others.
“The bottom line is that the law is not clear about this, although I suspect the nurse will have a pretty strong case,” Gable said.
[ Read the full story here -source]
The most interesting part about all of this is that all of the white Ohnawlians who sent this in did so with so much anger and rage in their emails and chats, yet the black fans of the site simply said things such as: ” Here goes this shyt again” and ” In water is wet news”.
See, to many of us African-Americans, we grow up hearing stories like this everyday , we know people who have lived these stories and then at some point or another, we all live these type of stories at least a few times in our life time. So for whites and others, this seems like a major travesty and just an awful thing that they can’t believe still happens, whereas many of us on the other end of it all can’t believe that those guys over their can’t believe it.
Shyt isn’t new, folks.
It’s just something you can not fathom if you haven’t lived it and frankly, I wouldn’t want to put the ‘Black experience’ on anyone’s plate. But it seems that in order for many people to GET it, they have to live it. Can you imagine for a second what it’s like to ALWAYS be on guard? To know that regardless of what YOU do an accomplish, at the end of the day you’re pretty much still viewed as just a n*gger. You’re still looked at as less than everyone else. Barack Obama is the most powerful man in the free WORLD and there are a gang of white men in a trailer park who think he should be shining their shoes. Hey, he might be the President but he’s still just a mooncrikety porchmonkey coooooon. The most powerful man in the free world, people…..and still…just a n*gger to many. It’s can be a pretty soul crushing ordeal. Sadly, as a Black man and as bad as other black men have it, at LEAST we are still men. It pretty much gets no lower than a Black Female.
Yeah I said it. Because it’s true.
NO one has it worse than a Black female. Everything aBOUT her is viewed as a negative, and according to science, this world CAME from her very womb! Doesn’t matter though. She still isn’t viewed as much. Everything about her from the texture of her hair, the extra curve to her bottom and lips to the point her damn skin tone speaks to her ‘worth’ is a negative, and if she dares speak up to tell you she isn’t the animal you think she is or that she isn’t going to allow you to push her down any lower or that she feels the need to speak louder than everyone so that you can not marginalize who she is as a person and as a woman…. then she is a loudmouth…she is a bytch.. she has an attitude….
f*ck out of here with that.
Everyone has someone in their corner to help keep them going. Everyone but the Black woman. She has herself and MAYBE just maybe a few other Black women who understand the end goal.
So am I surprised someone wants to marginalize her? No.
AM I surprised that someone felt that regardless of knowing what she is capable of, regardless of what she may have accomplished and regardless of her tenure and experience that they simply did not think her worthy? No.
and am I surprised that there are going to be those who think she was wrong for suing the hospital? No.
Will I have anything negative to say about this woman taking action and letting the world know that they can test her if they want to, they can marginalize her if they want to, they can view her as less than if they want to, they can do wrong to her and expect her to simply take it if they want to, but oh Lord of whatever lord you pray to or not……. they are going to find out they were wrong.
So i’m not surprised, nawl and I’m not surprised some of you wont understand.
But i’m glad she is doing it.
Because the Black woman might be a lot of things to a lot of people………but what she is not? Is a ponk.
Thanks to Katrina K and everyone else for the send in.