'No African American Nurses' Note Spurs Outrage -- And A Lawsuit

African American nurse's lawsuit: The note that sparked it.By Sydney Lupkin

A Michigan hospital is under fire after a lawsuit claims it fulfilled a father's request to have no black nurses look after his baby in the neonatal intensive care unit last fall.

A black nurse sued Hurley Medical Center for discrimination and violation of the state civil rights act after the nurse manager reassigned her because of the man's request for no black nurses, according to the complaint.

The man also pulled up his sleeve to reveal "some type of tattoo which was believed to be a swastika of some kind," the complaint from nurse Tonya Battle, 49, read. The name of the father who made the request was not included in the court papers.

"Please, No African American Nurses to care for [redacted] Baby per Dad's request. Thank you," read a note that was attached to the baby's clipboard and obtained by ABC affiliate WJRT in Flint, Mich. This followed a staff meeting and a call to the nurse's home to inform her of the decision, according to the complaint.

More: Sign Up For AOL Jobs' Newsletter

A hospital lawyer eventually told the staff this was illegal, but the lawsuit alleges that black nurses were intentionally not assigned to the baby for the remainder of its stay in the hospital over the next month.

The hospital CEO spoke at a news conference on Tuesday after the local chapter of Al Sharpton's National Action Network held a press conference at the hospital to demand answers.

"The father was informed that his request could not be granted, and as a result, all nurses remained available to care for his baby," Hurley CEO Melany Gavulic said, according to WJRT. "We appreciate the community's concern and involvement today, as we publicly clarify the facts of this case. The medical center looks forward to a quick and amicable resolution."

The nurse had been employed at Hurley for 25 years. She is seeking damages for her distress, harassment and humiliation.

"She's going to win this lawsuit. The real question is what's it worth," local attorney Tom Pabst told ABC12 last week. He is not involved in the lawsuit. "If you grant such a request, you're engaging in unlawful conduct."

Don't Miss: Companies Hiring Now

More From ABC News

Looking for a job? Click here to get started.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:

who wrote that sicko note??????????

February 27 2013 at 11:48 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

I feel bad for the nurse, but the child is the real victim here. This child will be raised a hater, what a tragedy.

February 26 2013 at 10:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I just cannot imagine having someone qualified not take care of my child because of their color. Your child knows no hate as a baby. What a shame this still goes on and that the hospital let it.

February 26 2013 at 12:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is unfortunate that a hospital would give into the demands of this racist, it shows how America is still deeply divided racially and we should call out administration that allowed nurse to be moved from natal unit in order not to take care of child.

February 26 2013 at 11:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I would of been glad to know that someone did not want me to take care of them or their family member based on my skin color, because there are so many sick people who DON'T care about my skin color and are glad to have me as their nurse. Why waste time taking care of someone who hates you? I just move on to the next. It saves me and the patient/family undue stress, and we health professionals all know how stressful and hard to work as a nurse is. I feel sorry they judge based on skin color and not ability and people tell me that I'm an excellent nurse all the time. I never could understand why people bother with being not wanted because of their skin color, when there are so many wonderful people in the world who see no color. Now, saying something vulgar or racist about anyone in reference to race or color where the person can see or hear it is a horse of a different color. People have the right to like or dislike whoever or whatever they want, but they should always be RESPECTFUL to each other no matter what. If you don't like me because of my color, then tell me in a respectful way, I won't be hurt by it. It's better to have something in the open than to be dealing with someone who is acting like they like you. I have more respect for an outward racist than an inward racist, because you know where they are coming from. Who was the dummy who put the note on the clipboard in the first place? That's who need to be sued. They should of just told her and not put it in writing. I bet if they did that, she would not have sued. It's the writing and putting it on the clipboard for all to see that makes it is so offensive. Most people of color prefer truth about how you feel about them, they aren't going to care if you don't like them, it's the faking and outwardly cruel references that upsets them and trust me, they know when you are faking it. It shows in actions/gestures and not words. It's exhausting when people have to put on charades daily to get through the day. Being honest sets you free. Sorry, got off on a whole different tandem, but the moral of this post is that they should of just told her instead of posting a big fat note on the clipboard, it wouldn't have infuriated her.

February 25 2013 at 1:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

How stupid can they get? Even during the evils of slavery and Jim Crowe whites were smart enough to entrust their children to black women, both as midwifes and for childrearing, so I imagine these racists are only expressing their hate rather than any concern for their children, else they're just as dumb as bricks.

February 25 2013 at 1:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
P BloodMyst

It's a sad fact that there are still plenty of people who would make such a request. and plenty of places that would actually carry the request out. I think that it should never matter what race or color a person is but weather or not they have the knowledge to do the job. And as sad as it is that there is places like hospitals willing to carry out such a request why should it be really on just the hospital. now this is comment that many will have issue with. because of this: did the hospital do wrong for carrying out the request possibly yes. but if you made a request no matter what it is your paying a huge bill to the hospital why should they Not carry it out? even if it is a request that just shows how narrow minded the person is. as far as I have read and heard it is the hospital taking all the hits on this WHY isn't the so called Father taking any of these hits after all he is the narrow minded racial JA who made the request and would have more in likely pestered everyone there till they did follow it.

February 23 2013 at 7:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Does the idiot realize that his child probably received less care as the nurses probably avoided the tainted child like the plague, as evidenced by the sperm donor.

February 23 2013 at 5:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Miss V

Being in the medical field it's sad but these kinds of things happen a lot. I can't even count the number of times a patient has asked me about the doctors skin color because of their name or question their ability to do their work because of the doctors age. The nurse has every right to be angered and upset that her employer followed through with this request. Although it is the fathers right to make the request we have to remember there are others in this story who have rights too. Shame shame shame shame this is what peole feel

February 22 2013 at 11:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Carol P

I can't believe some of these ignorant post!! Yes, the father had every right to his free speech. The father is NOT being sued, the hospital is! If you hold a job then you should know that you have rights in this country. One of those right is that you are NOT to be discriminated against. The hospital clearly discriminated against African American nurses in this case by granting this foolish request, now the HOSPITAL is being sued and it should be!!

February 22 2013 at 2:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Search Articles

Picks From the Web