Michigan hospital sued over 'No African American Nurse for a baby- father's request'

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Vash01, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. rfisher

    rfisher Satisfied skating fan

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    Personal ethics are just that: personal and vary widely among cultures and even people within a community.
  2. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    The threat might not have been perceived as a physical one. However, had they refused his request, would he have become a problem. Might he have said nasty things about the nurse? Might he have caused a scene, upsetting others? Sometimes, as ugly and revolting as a request can be, going along with it, prevents victimizing.


    It is supposition. I suppose some of us would like to believe that the hospital's motives were correct. To prevent their nurses from being harassed by a jerk. I would imagine that the nurses would not want to have to associate with someone who is openly racist. It would jut make their life more difficult. But, it should have been done differently. The head nurse could have gone to the nurses, explained that there is a nut job who is racist, and told them to avoid him for their own safety.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2013
  3. duane

    duane New Member

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    You took my comment WAY too literally and out of context. People are saying that perhaps the guy's request was initially granted because of fear that he might be dangerous. Well, that's why hospitals have security--to, among other things, deal with dangerous or potentially dangerous situations. If the staff felt threatened or were fearful of what might happen if they didn't appease the guy, they should have called security. Instead, they granted the unethical, discriminatory request, and are now facing a "big fat lawsuit" because of it.
  4. manhn

    manhn Well-Known Member

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    In what cultures would forbidding African-American nurses from doing their job be ethical?
  5. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

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    The same ones where embracing Nazism is viewed as merely a personal ethical choice.
  6. OliviaPug

    OliviaPug Well-Known Member

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    I did take your comment literally because that's what you wrote! :lol:

    In any event, it is also the hospital's responsible to assess risk. No one wants to get to the point where security has to be called.

    A big, fat lawsuit could have resulted from any number of actions taken by the hospital.

    The hospital is facing a big fat lawsuit because it took action that the nurse felt was wrong. The hospital could have taken several different approaches and still faced a big fat lawsuit -- possibly by the jerk if the hospital had refused his request. Whether or not the hospital has a valid defense to the nurse's action or the nurse has a valid claim have yet to be determined. The situation would be the same if the hospital refused and the jerk had filed a lawsuit -- valid claim, valid defense? People file big fat lawsuits all the time, many of which are frivolous. Other folks who may have valid claims decide not to because of other, personal reasons.

    Relying on security to intervene or settle a dispute, rather than trying to assess risk beforehand and head off a dangerous situation, seems like a bad choice to me. Even though this is a disturbing situation, at least no one was hurt physically or possibly worse.

    O-
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  7. duane

    duane New Member

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    Whoever made the decision to appease the guy is probably now in danger of losing their job.

    But in regards to lawsuits, I know that lawyers have a bad reputation, but who would take the guy's case even if he wanted to sue? And sue on what grounds? Failing to discriminate?
  8. rfisher

    rfisher Satisfied skating fan

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    What's ethics? It's whatever a professional organization determines which is why there is no code of ethics for personal behavior except what society as a whole decides. And there are cultures where being a different race most certainly would preclude you from a lot of things, jobs being only one of many. And if you think Western cultures don't do that, look a little deeper into your environment.
  9. manhn

    manhn Well-Known Member

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    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/ethics

    Not just a professional organization.

    Just because other people do it doesn't make it "ethical."
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  10. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    In my opinion, none! However, as much as we see the request as unethical, would it have been right for the hospital to do nothing? If they had simply warned the nurse, would she be liable if something went wrong and she avoided the infant/mother? If she did tend to the child/mother and the jerk said horrible things to her, should she be subjected to that? Possibly, in going along with the request, they absolved the nurse of any responsibility.

    I do think assessing potential harm and heading it off is much better than allowing it to happen and dealing with the consequences.
  11. iloveemoticons

    iloveemoticons Well-Known Member

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    I tend to think that avoiding potential violence generally shouldn't be the main goal of any entity's daily operations. I mean, what if the nurse had crazy friends that looked like they'd be willing to burn down the entire ward if the nurse were reassigned, then what would the hospital do? I think it's a valid point that sticking to principle is easier said than done in the heat of the moment when nurses are working in a hospital environment, but this situation continued for a month, which was enough time to find a better solution, IMO.
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  12. iloveemoticons

    iloveemoticons Well-Known Member

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    Oops double post
  13. reckless

    reckless Well-Known Member

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    Actually, looking at the Johnson v. California case, the Supreme Court did not hold that racially segregating the prison was illegal. That issue was never decided. It only decided what the appropriate test would be for evaluating if the practice was constitutional. It held that it was a practice that had to satisfy strict scrutiny, which is the strictist standard for determining the constitutionality of practicises subject to civil rights challenges. To be constitutional, the state would have to show that racial segregation served a legitimate state interest (preventing violence probably wuold qualify) and was the least restrictive means of serving that interest (i.e., it was the way of serving that interest that least infringed on civil rights so that if there was a way to avoid violence without segregating races, the policy would fail). The lower courts had applied different legal standards. After the Supreme Court decision, the case settled and a new policy that did not automatically segregate inmates was put into effect.
  14. numbers123

    numbers123 Well-Known Member

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    I am going to present a hypothetical scenario:

    Your baby is in the nursery in the same nursery as the baby in question. The father had made his request known to the hospital staff and the hospital administrator on call made the decision to ignore the request saying it was unreasonable and not acceptable in their hospital environment. The father enters the unit and views the nurse caring for his infant. He begins verbal interactions with the staff - yelling profanities, etc. at them. The staff feel threatened and fear that the staff and other patients/visitors are at risk for violence (whether or not he has begun violent behavior). They begin to institute non-violent crisis interventions techniques and the situation escalates. Your baby is injured because the isolates are being pushed around. You or your family members are injured. How would you feel then? In this situation, the hospital is aware of the potential issues and does nothing - are you going to be thinking good for the hospital for standing up to this man? Or are you going to be thinking, the hospital should have considered the potential situation and planned for it?

    MacMadame is correct - this is going around in circles. In a perfect world no one would be racist, no one would have objections to receiving care from any and all caregivers. In a perfect world the hospital would never have to make a decision like this. In a perfect world, the nursing supervisor or who ever took the first "request/demand" would have not put it in the chart. But life/decisions are never in a perfect world.
  15. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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    Circles that are being stretched more and more.
  16. OliviaPug

    OliviaPug Well-Known Member

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    In response to Duane:

    You don't think neo-nazis are lawyers? Believe me, there is a lawyer out there for anyone and everyone who wants file suit for just about anything. I've been a lawyer for 21 years, and I've seen some incredible stuff.

    O-
  17. iloveemoticons

    iloveemoticons Well-Known Member

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    While people are considering what could have happened potentially, what about what did happen? Because of this request, someone else's baby had their original nurse reassigned, breaking that child's continuity of care. Then replaced with this now clearly demoralized, clearly upset nurse is thinking about quitting and/or suing the hospital. If this nurse is distracted and makes a mistake with your child as a result, would you be happy about it? There are always potential consequences to any decision, but the fact is, drug addicts, gangbangers, hardened criminals, and the mentally ill are often in hospitals, and they always have the potential to cause harm, but that does not mean that their requests are always granted.
  18. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    But, in this case possibly to protect the nurse, even if from hideous language.

    I have to be honest here. If it were me, the nurse, and I found out that the hospital was asked that I not tend to the child (for grantedly ugly racist reasons), and I knew the father had a nazi tattoo, I would be thanking the hospital for keeping me away from the shit. Could the hospital have handled it better? Sure. But, was the nurse better off for not having to deal with this low life? Absolutely.
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  19. AxelAnnie

    AxelAnnie Well-Known Member

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    Um...that is the kind of logic....not making a difficult call when called for...that left a very ill teenager in Newton out of a hospital. In the moment the hospital felt that the most appropriate action for the health, and safety and well being of all concerned was to give into the guy. Unpopular choice for the hospital an they knew that.

    Had someone pushed to have the Newton shooter properly removed from the General population and treated there would be a lot of people alive and unharmed.
  20. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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    Did her friends have tattoos? If they had tattoos, watch out for them! ;)

    And will continue to be stretched until we get more information. Which I suspect we're not going to get. Since the nurse is suing, everyone has clamped down and no one is talking.

    I dont know what kind of experience you have with giving birth but I've done it twice in two different hospitals and in both cases my baby spent 99% of his or her time with me. Babies hardly go into the nursery any more. They are there for a bit each day to be tested but most people are out of the hospital pretty quickly so that may only happen once. For a vaginal birth, you are generally home within 24-48 hours.

    I'm not saying nothing could have happened but I think it's unlikely and it would have been easy enough to do that baby's tests only when the other babies were mostly in their mother's rooms if it was truly considered an issue. Or they could have called a security guard to stand by the door while that baby was in the nursery.
  21. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    But, would that really have changed the problem? They would have gone from no African American nurses can touch the child, to a security guard must be present if an African American nurse touches the child. I don't think either situation would be complimentary to the nurse. The issue here, at least for me, is that the father was an ass. There is no reflection on the nurse, at all. If you read through the posts here, no one thinks less of the nurse. No one questions her ability. Everyone is clearly thinking that the father is the looser. I think it was a no win situation. We don't want to give in to racist requests. But, on the other hand, this could have turned into a far worse racist tirade, by doing nothing. Sometimes we have to weigh what the consequences will be. Going along with the jerk for the 24-48 hours he would be there might have seemed less harmful to the nurse than putting her in a potentially ugly situation.

    As others have already said, this is speculation. We don't really know exactly what happened.
  22. iloveemoticons

    iloveemoticons Well-Known Member

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    Darn it, I hadn't thought of that detail :lol

    I'm not sure what situation you're referring to, but I'm not using any "logic," I'm just presenting the fact that drug dealers, criminals, gangbangers, and the mentally ill are routinely in hospitals and yet routinely denied irrational requests. Is that not true? Using your logic, anytime a drug addict demands painkillers, that request should be granted. Anytime a gangbanger requests something, that request should be granted. Otherwise people around them could be hurt. And the hospital granting those requests could ultimately lead to more potential for violence, because people would start to think that they could threaten violence in hospitals to get their way.

    I have always had the personal impression that hospitals are not very willing to grant patient requests, even legitimate ones. When I was in high school, one of my friends started getting bad headaches and other symptoms. Her parents took her to the family doctor a few times and he kept saying she was fine. She got worse and her parents took her to the ER, and they said pretty much the same thing, and gave her some flu medication. Her parents were desperate and begged them to admit her, because they knew something was seriously wrong, but they didn't (not due to lack of insurance). So they took her home and she ended up dying of meningitis at age 15. Everyone knew her because she was really outgoing, in student government, volleyball star, and the entire small town was shocked. To think that this medically irrelevant, racist request was granted because that guy had a tattoo just infuriates me to no end.
  23. AxelAnnie

    AxelAnnie Well-Known Member

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    There is a difference between requesting schedule 3 meds and requesting a preference in who treats you. I know the sticking point is that the request is racial, and that sort of request is politically taboo. Criminals (do you mean the incarcerated kind?), Mentally ill (do you mean institutionalized?) are restrained and do not have the rights and privileges the rest of us do. "Dangerous People" i.e. gangbangers (if the hospital thinks their red bandana is gonna cause a gang war, or if there is a "rumble" - LOL) will have police and security right there.

    As obnoxious as the guys request is.....it is not irrational.


    It is his belief. (I am not condoning it, the guy is a moron). But is belief is no more irrational than a Christian Scientist who denies treatment, or a Jehovah Witness who won't allow a blood transfusion. The guy, btw, didn't just have a tattoo....he had a Neo-Nazi symbol proclaiming his belief in inferior races. Back to the gang banger...........if they wanted only their "homies" to be around them, or no nurses in the other gang's colors around......would that be rational? And, believe me, the hospital would be staying clear of the gang bangers. The hospital has a duty to assess the risk and ask accordingly.

    I am sorry about your friend. Someone should have done a spinal tap.
  24. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

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    As several other posters have stated I don't see how this guy can live and presumably work in Flint, MI without interacting with non-whites. The hospital should have just told him he can leave. If his wife and baby needed further care he can pay for an ambulance to transport them to the place of his choice. His wife has been pregnant for nine months he should have made the necessary arrangements beforehand. Personally I think the guy likes the attention he gets by creating drama. There are plenty of all white towns in the U.S. if he feels that strongly about exposing his child to other races. It's not as if Flint is a job seeker's paradise.
  25. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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  26. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

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    Where are these all white towns full of jobs? I live in a midwestern town of about 4500 people and it is not all white. I spent ten years of childhood in a rural farming town of 250 and it wasn't even all white. It also had hardly any jobs.
  27. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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    The new details change a lot of the speculation but I do think, yes, it changes the problem.

    In some of the situations that have been described, gangbangers at the hospital, mentally ill being admitted, etc., this is exactly what they do. If they think the situation may escalate into violence, they have extra security available as one of their precautions. It's completely reasonable to me.

    So now we know more details and we can see that this was a more complicated situation with a sick baby who was there for a long time, not a healthy birth where you can just tell the guy to take a hike if he doesn't like how the situation was handled and have there be no consequences to the baby. (Which is not to say they shouldn't have anyway; just that the baby's health now becomes a bigger factor in the equation.)

    The interesting thing to me is the quote that the man's tattoo seem to invoked anger and outrage in the staff. It doesn't say that the man or his actions did that. They were completely reacting to the tattoo. This is part of what I was alluding to when people were saying "he had a racist tattoo; of course he was violent!" If the man never did anything to give any indication that he would erupt into violence -- make threatening gestures, say threatening things or otherwise acting like he had a bad temper and would be violent if he didn't get his way -- then I wonder how much other people's reaction contributed to this mess.
  28. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

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    I think he could find a community in Maine, NH, Vermont, or Idaho where he wouldn't have to interact with other races. The unemployment rate in MI is about the worst in the nation, and his unwillingness to tolerate other races must limit his job options even further. My point is his only reason for staying in such a place is that he enjoys the confrontation. He could hardly pick a more racially diverse community.
  29. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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    You don't know that. There are many reasons to stay in a community you aren't politically compatible with.

    He may have family there and wants to stay near them or even needs to stay near them (say, he has a parent who needs carrying for). Also, many people have trouble moving away from the area they grew up in. He may own property or a business there that would be hard to sell.
  30. Louis

    Louis Tinami 2012

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    I disagree. No one should feel like they should have to do a different job because of their race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation.

    All of the potential reasons why the hospital may have been justified are rooted in fear. Time to get over it and be as brave as this nurse was.

    I'd feel a lot worse knowing that my niece or nephew was born into a world where "no African American" sticky-notes were A-OK than a world where hospital security had to be called to deal with a racist nut.

    I thank this nurse for exposing medicine's "dirty little secret" and am happy she got a settlement.
  31. OlieRow

    OlieRow Well-Known Member

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    Most ED physicians don't have admitting privileges. They can tell a consultant (in this case a Pediatrician) that they have a patient they feel needs admission, but they need someone to accept the patient as an inpatient, admit them, and take over their care.
  32. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

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    This. Plus insurance can refuse to allow admittance. This happened to me over the objections of my doctor once.
  33. numbers123

    numbers123 Well-Known Member

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    The patient was not the father.
  34. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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    This is true but the father was the speaker for the patient. So if the father says "no AA nurses for my baby" the staff has to act as if the baby said it.

    Again, that doesn't mean they have to accede to the request. But they have to treat it like a request from the patient, whatever that means for their own protocols.
  35. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

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    Sometimes in life you have to make hard choices. It's not the hospital's problem that he chooses to stay somewhere where he doesn't like his fellow citizens.
  36. smileyskate

    smileyskate New Member

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    Haven't read all the threads but I understand the nurse being upset. (Also agree the Nazi probably likes the attention. Scary.). However, deserving a ton of cash from the hospital/health care system (or their insurer) may be a different issue. Personally seen similar things happen in care related professions, not just about skin color, but maybe religion, mobility (handicapped) and of course AGE.
  37. OliviaPug

    OliviaPug Well-Known Member

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    But it IS the hospital's problem that they had to deal with this situation -- that ultimately erupted into a mess. It is very much the hospital's problem, the nurse's problem, and the community-at-large's problem. The hospital may very well have to deal with a similar situation in the future. Do you honestly think if this one guy moves to some hypothetical all-white community that such a situation will never present itself again? Not all white folks are neo-nazis. Some white folks even have racially-mixed children. Some even adopt children from other countries, such as China, and are church-going and tolerant. This guy would be hard-pressed to find a community of individuals who agreed entirely with his point-of-view and prejudices. And that goes for anyone, anywhere.

    Banishment is not the answer. We live in a diverse, integrated society. Open dialogue is a good start. And, although I'm sorry to see anyone hurt by this situation, I do see positives that will come from it, including this dialogue, the hospital's review of its policies, and wider attention and debate. All of these things will hopefully contribute to other people and facilities making better choices in the future.

    O-
  38. Rex

    Rex Well-Known Member

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    :respec: This one...
  39. taf2002

    taf2002 Well-Known Member

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    The father made what many of us see as an unreasonable request. Let's say a patient in the hospital was only willing to pay for semi-private room but requested a private room anyway. If the hospital said no, there would be no issue. Request received, request denied. It's so simple.

    I have been in a similar situation. When I first went to work for the phone company in 1982 I was asked by a black coworker to take over a call she had started. The reason - the customer didn't want their business handled by a black person. I didn't want to take over the call but at that time the precedence had been established that if a customer asked, we would comply & I was specifically told by my supervisor to do it. And there were a lot of customers who asked. I only did it a couple of times, then I couldn't handle it anymore. It made me sick. So I pushed for a policy change & I made it clear that if I took over a call I would lecture/try to shame the caller, which I did a time or two. Several customers called my supervisor & complained. I knew I could lose my job over it but I knew if I didn't protest then I was just as guilty. And I didn't want to work for a business with discrimitory policies.

    When the man saw that nurse handling his child, if he saw something he didn't like he could have asked that she not handle his child. But to ask to bar any particular race & then for someone in authority to honor his request was asinine. That person is just as much at fault as the nazi for the brohaha.
  40. purple skates

    purple skates Shadow dancing

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    Have you been around Flint? It is not diverse - it's pretty much segregated. It is a predominently African American community surrounded by a sea of lilly white. Livingston County is 95% white. Northern Oakland County, Lapeer, most of Genesee except for Flint, white white white. You could easily live your entire life in that area and never come in contact with a person of color, unless you ventured into the big cities. There's also rumored white supremacy and KKK types running around in the thumb area and parts of Livingston County, so people shouldn't be totally shocked that there'd be a Nazi-type in that area.

    ETA: For those not familiar with this area, here's a map (go to slide 7). Flint is a bit up and out from the corner of Oakland County.
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2013