(Charlie Rood) A story getting some national attention... still in the early stages. Any thoughts about what happened from what we know? My initial observations follow the story as reported online in the Detroit Free Press...
The head of Hurley Medical Center in Flint on Tuesday denied allegations that hospital officials granted a father's request that African-American nurses not tend to his baby.
Rather, when the father showed a nursing supervisor his swastika tattoo, it "created anger and outrage in our staff," Melany Gavulic, president and CEO, said in a written statement. "This resulted in concern by supervisors for the safety of the staff. The father was informed that his request could not be granted."
Gavulic and a hospital attorney met Tuesday for more than an hour with the Rev. Charles Williams II, president of the Michigan chapter of the National Action Network, an organization founded by the Rev. Al Sharpton.
Williams said he was finishing a news conference midday when a hospital staff member invited him to meet with Gavulic and the attorney in Gavulic's office.
Williams said the meeting was "unexpected" and that he was impressed with what he called Gavulic's "heartfelt" commitment to "resolve this immediately."
Gavulic confirmed she met with Williams, and "she agrees that it was a positive meeting," said Hurley spokeswoman Ilene Cantor.
Still, the first step to resolution will be to publicly acknowledge any mishandling of the father's request, Williams said.
"The hospital hasn't done that yet," he said.
Williams said his organization will continue to demand sensitivity training for hospital staff. It also wants to know what kind of disciplinary action, if any, decision-makers in the incident had received.
Last month, Tonya Battle, 49, an African-American nurse and veteran of the neonatal unit, filed an eight-page lawsuit contending that the hospital prohibited her from caring for an infant last year because a man objected to her race.
The lifelong Flint resident said she was working the late shift Oct. 31 when a man walked into a room where she was caring for a newborn. She asked to see his identification, and the man, who was the father of the newborn, demanded to see her supervisor, she told the Free Press on Monday.
According to Battle, a note was placed afterward on the assignment chart that read: "No African American nurse to take care of baby."
Williams had planned to meet with Battle on Tuesday, but both ran out of time. He said he planned to reschedule the meeting.
In Gavulic's written statement, released to the Free Press after her meeting with Williams, she said Hurley officials value their patients and staff, including Battle "and her quarter century of professionalism and dedication."
Additionally, "Hurley has had a rich history and reputation of supporting and valuing diversity and remains committed to our policy of non-discrimination."
Frances Gilcreast, president of the Flint NAACP, sits on Hurley's 15-member board of managers.
Gilcreast said she's not surprised at allegations of racism; complaints of prejudice at workplaces and schools and in housing are common at the NAACP office.
But she also feels strongly about what she said is Hurley's well-deserved reputation as a respected part of the community and provider of "high-quality care."
She said the 15-member board may request an investigation into the matter, but it might be limited by how much it can do because the case is now in court.
If the allegations are true, she said, and "if this is par for the course, we need to make sure people are held accountable," she said.
First, you can't stop people from being racists. They exist. Always have and always will. Hopefully, racists are shunned as they should be and dealt with as little as possible. You hope somehow this sad man will eventually overcome his hatred, especially when raising his baby. We can only imagine what he'll teach his child.
The nurse was hurt by what the man said. She says the hospital had a note posted "No African-American nurse to take care of baby."
Hurley Medical Center is denying it did anything wrong. A spokesperson says when the man showed he had a swastika tattoo, there was a concern of safety for the staff.
The Michigan chapter of the National Action Network, a civil rights group founded by the Reverend Al Sharpton, staged a small protest in front of the hospital.
Obviously we are dealing with a very sensitive issue because race is involved.
If the hospital did indeed meet his demand, I'm wondering if it was an action taken to protect the nurse from further contact with a worthless individual, and at the same time trying to maintain a peaceful atmosphere by not agitating the situation.
The nurse has sued for "emotional distress, mental anguish, humiliation, and damage to her reputation".
Is it possible this was a big misunderstanding between the hospital and nurse?
It would be nice if the hospital and nurse could settle this quickly and quietly so this doesn't get anymore more negative attention than necessary.
It's disappointing to think the person who is responsible for starting all this, THE RACIST GUY, may not suffer any consequences to HIS reputation!
Then again, I'm guessing he really doesn't care.
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