Posted By Tom Plahutnik, Web Editor/Producer - email
By Andrew Keller, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
A photo showing a page of the lawsuit filed by the nurse.
FLINT, MI (WNEM/AP) -
Hurley Medical Center in Flint has settled a lawsuit that alleged racial discrimination between a nurse and hospital staff.
Nurse Tonya Battle was at the news conference where Hurley made a joint statement regarding her racial discrimination lawsuit.
The decision comes after a marathon negotiating session Thursday, according to the nurse's husband. Friday, both sides acknowledged they have reached a settlement.
According to court documents, she was caring for a baby when the child's father made a request that no African-American nurses take care of his baby. The father then showed the nurse a swastika tattoo.
"It was just unbelievable. I was just dumbfounded somebody would be making that request. I just felt like I was taken back in time," said Battle, when asked how she felt about her incident.
According to the lawsuit, the hospital didn't assign any black nurses to the baby during the hospital stay, which lasted more than a month. The lawsuit also refers to a note taped on a hospital clipboard, "No African-American nurse to take care of baby."
"I don't think that his request should have been honored. I think that every nurse in the NICU here at the medical center is qualified to take care of every baby, and we do, every patient. We don't see color, I don't think, I don't, when I'm taking care of a baby, I don't see color," said Battle.
It's been called one of medicine's "open secrets" - allowing patients to refuse treatment by a doctor or nurse of another race.
The Michigan cases are among several lawsuits filed in recent years that highlight this seldom-discussed issue, which quietly persists almost 60 years after the start of the civil rights movement. Friday night, Hurley's CEO held a news conference to say the hospital will use this case and move forward.
"We will use the circumstances of this issue for future training sessions to make sure employees are prepared to appropriately handle situations like this," said Hurley CEO Melany Gavulic.
The American Medical Association's code of ethics bars doctors from refusing to treat people based on race, gender and other criteria, but there are no specific policies for handling race-based requests from patients.
"Obviously there was a problem there, so we can bring it to light and work together so it doesn't happen again," said Battle, who hopes this lawsuit and settlement will be another proof racial discrimination is not acceptable in the workplace.
Copyright 2013 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Friday, May 17 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:16:53 GMT
One person has died in a crash near Harrisonville, MO, Thursday evening. The crash happened on Missouri Highway 7 and Walker Road. It involved a car and a tractor-trailer. Harrisonville is in Cass County.More >
Savannah Nash celebrated her 16th birthday last week. She died Thursday when her car slammed into a semi while she was texting during her first time driving by herself.More >
Wednesday, May 15 2013 2:57 PM EDT2013-05-15 18:57:11 GMT
The old saying goes, "If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen." Perhaps, this applies to Kitchen Nightmares, as well. An Arizona bakery was featured on Friday's episode of the Gordon RamseyMore >
The old saying goes, "If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen." Perhaps, this applies to Kitchen Nightmares, as well.More >
ObitMichigan.com is dedicated to delivering immediate, up-to-date information on obituaries 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to families and friends in Mid-Michigan. Death notices are displayed during theMore >
ObitMichigan.com is dedicated to delivering immediate, up-to-date information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to families and friends who have lost loved ones.More >
Friday, May 17 2013 1:26 PM EDT2013-05-17 17:26:14 GMT
Earthquakes Canada is reporting a 5.1-magnitude earthquake just west of Ottawa that was felt as far away as Toronto. The federal agency that monitors earthquakes revised its original report, saying itMore >
Earthquakes Canada is reporting a 5.1-magnitude earthquake just west of Ottawa that was felt as far away as Toronto, Ann Arbor and Saginaw.More >
Friday, May 17 2013 2:44 PM EDT2013-05-17 18:44:51 GMT
By ED WHITE, Associated Press A Sanilac County woman gained the sympathy and admiration of her community as the subject of a newspaper's award-winning series about surviving rape. People and organizationsMore >
A Sanilac County woman gained the sympathy and admiration of her community as the subject of a newspaper's award-winning series about surviving rape. More >
Thursday, May 16 2013 3:11 PM EDT2013-05-16 19:11:51 GMT
A Kansas City couple has been charged in connection with child abuse involving a 9-year-old girl who was restrained in their basement, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announced Wednesday. LaceyMore >
A Kansas City couple has been charged in connection with child abuse involving a 9-year-old girl who was restrained in their basement, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announced Wednesday.More >
Friday, May 17 2013 5:47 PM EDT2013-05-17 21:47:08 GMT
After proudly serving his country in two wars, an 86-year-old veteran is repaid by being attacked in his own home and held at gunpoint. And while robbers took off with some of the man's belongings, hisMore >
A man used to combat and decorated with a Purple Heart during the Korean War was thrown to the ground in his own home as thieves made off with TVs, guns and his ride.More >
Friday, May 17 2013 1:50 PM EDT2013-05-17 17:50:19 GMT
A man charged with killing his own cousin has turned himself in to authorities. Saginaw Police said 21-year-old Derell Martin is accused of shooting Don'Dre Martin. The 19-year-old was gunned down whileMore >
A man charged with killing his own cousin has turned himself in to authorities.More >
There were some scary moments at the Saginaw County Courthouse on Wednesday afternoon. Police working security at the courthouse entrance stopped and arrested a woman who tried to bring in a loaded pistol.More >
There were some scary moments at the Saginaw County Courthouse on Wednesday afternoon.More >