Racism — February 18, 2013 at 12:38 pm

Mich hospital sued for agreeing to racist’s demand that no black nurses treat his baby


More embarrassment for the Mitten state

Tonya Battle is a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) nurse at the Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan. Last year on Halloween, she was caring for a baby in the NICU unit. The baby’s father, approached her, and asked to see her supervisor. What happened next is right out of the early part of the 20th Century racist south.

The man demanded that no African American nurses care for his baby. Not only that, the hospital complied. They are now being sued by Tonya Battle.

According to the complaint, which you can read HERE (pdf), the man rolled up his sleeve when he spoke to Battle’s supervisor, showing a tattoo that is believed to be a swastika. Battle, who is African American, and all other African American nurses where then prohibited from treating this racist’s sick baby. The assignment clipboard, according to the complaint, had a note prominently displayed reading, “NO AFRICAN AMERICAN NURSE TO TAKE CARE OF BABY”.

Although Hurley Medical Center’s lawyer told them they couldn’t do that, they continued to do so anyway for the month the baby was in their care.

Hurley Medical Center’s ironic logo

Battle’s lawsuit has three counts: (1) Violation of her equal protection rights under the 14th Amendment, (2) Violation of her rights under the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, and (3), intentional infliction of emotional distress by Battle’s supervisor. Battle claims that she was subject to intimidation, ridicule and insult when she filed complaints with her employer.

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit nurses receive special training specific to that critically important job. It’s bad enough that this racist bigot insulted her and her fellow nurses in this way. His right to be a racist bigot is constitutionally protected. The hospital, however, has no such right and they have shamed the medical profession with their actions.

Strangely, this story has not been reported in the major Michigan newspapers. I cannot for the life of me imagine why.

Adding… This story has me seething. As LOLGOP counsels me, it’s newsworthy because it’s rare so that’s something. But this sort of blatant racism is startling in this day and age and make me rage. Flint is 56.6% African American according to the last census. Of course there are going to be African American nurses working there. What the hell did this ignorant Neanderthal bigot think and why would he take his sick baby there? The mind, it boggles…

[Hat tip: Christian Dem in NC | Daily Kos]