The note that was allegedly left in the neonatal intensive care unit of a Flint, Mich., hospital directing African-American nurses to not care for a baby at its father’s direction has surfaced.
Nurse Tonya Battle filed a lawsuit against Hurley Medical Center last week under the pretense that she was discriminated against due to her race after a father requested that no black nurses take care of his sick child.
Battle claims that she was caring for a baby in the neonatal intensive care unit of Hurley when the child’s father requested to speak to a supervisor. The man reportedly pulled up his sleeve and revealed a tattoo believed to be a Swastika, after which the baby was immediately reassigned to another nurse, WNEM reported.
A staff meeting was subsequently held to inform the hospital's nurses of the father's demands and the new policy regarding his child, the documents go on to say.
It was then that the note, obtained by Flint, Mich., affiliate ABC12, was added to the baby’s assignment clip board, instructing, “Please, No African-American Nurses to care for [redacted] Baby per Dad’s request. Thank you.”
(Visit ABC12 to view the note.)
According to ABC News, after nurses were notified of the request, a hospital lawyer informed the staff that it was illegal to restrict access to patients due to race.
Despite the father being told that his request would no longer be honored, African-American nurses were reportedly still banned from caring for the baby over the next month that the baby stayed in the unit.
In her suit, Battle expresses being “shocked, offended and in disbelief that she was so egregiously discriminated against based on her race and reassigned.”
Having been employed at Hurley for 25 years, she is seeking damages for her distress, harassment and humiliation, according to ABC News.
Hurley CEO Melany Gavulic released a statement after the local chapter of Al Sharpton’s National Action Network demanded answers about the situation.
“The father was informed that his request could not be granted, and, as a result, all nurses remained available to care for his baby,” Gavulic told reporters, 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.”
However, the news source reports that it got in contact with the father, who admitted that he made the request, detailing that it was honored for at least one day.
Local attorney Tom Pabst, who is not involved with the case, told ABC12 that Battle the suit is strongly in Battle’s favor.
“She’s going to win this lawsuit. The real question is what’s it worth,” he said. “If you grant such a request, you’re engaging in unlawful conduct.”