Racism at the bedside: “Nurse Sues, Says Hospital Allowed Racist Dad’s Demand”

I’m just catching wind of this headline this evening while I was watching the evening news and watching some of my DVR’d shows. After hearing about this I decided to let Google show me what the heck is going on: Nurse sues hospital over…

Here’s what CNN had to say:

A nurse is suing a hospital, claiming it agreed to man’s request that no African-Americans care for his baby.

The lawsuit accuses managers at Hurley Medical Center in Flint of reassigning Tonya Battle, who has worked at the facility for 25 years, based on the color of her skin.

The man approached Battle, while she was caring for his child in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit, asking to speak to her supervisor, according to the complaint filed in January by Battle’s attorney.

And according to Huffington Post:

A nurse’s skin color is the subject of a recent lawsuit filed against a Michigan hospital accused of racial discrimination.

According to the suit, Tonya Battle was barred from treating an infant patient at Hurley Medical Center because she is African American, WNEM TV 5 reports.

In the complaint, obtained by the local TV station, Battle claims that the newborn’s father showed her supervisor “a swastika of some kind” and asked that no black people be involved in his child’s care.

And two other news sources:

Black Nurse Barred From Handling White Baby

Nurse Sues, Says Hospital Allowed Racist Dad’s Demand

As a currently practicing Registered Nurse, I’m have a really hard time with this. I mean at first blush this is overt racism. Forget here-say and ‘he-said-she-said’. According to the news reports I’ve watched and read, there was actually a sign posted in the vicinity of this particular patient’s room that explicitly used words that refused the care of anyone of african-american decent.


I’m just appalled.

I’m speechless right now.

I’ll blog about this again, I just have to let this marinate a bit first. I know all too well not to type or post anything when your emotions are in overdrive.


Care to weigh in?


4 thoughts on “Racism at the bedside: “Nurse Sues, Says Hospital Allowed Racist Dad’s Demand”

  1. The NY Times ethicist explored this a couple of years ago and it was sort of a split decision. While it is totally racist on the part of the patient, it may have been the lessor of 2 evils to agree to the demand. A confrontation in this case with this asswipe was not in anyone’s best interest, hurt feelings aside of the nurse. In elective surgery you obviously tell the guy to walk. Not the case here.

  2. I agree with you guys. …. and we are all God people. There will be no black, white, mexican, chinese, etc, Heaven or Hell. God see no color and we as a society need to do better. This is 2013! smh 10x

  3. Ahem. I am not a nurse, and it is unclear what my heritage is but there is a strong case for African American roots, I also really take after my Prussian grandfather (see where I am going here?). I mean, where does it end? All the nurses should have stood up and said “Well there is no nurse here who is NOT of African descent!” We are all from Africa, and we as a nation are mixed enough who is to know who came from whom? What would the hospital do if no nurse could care for the patient per the father’s directions? Would an African American doctor be acceptable? PA? What?

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