Lawsuit: Race-Based Request Sidelined Nurse
By Ben Brumfield, CNN
(CNN) — 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 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.
She pointed the charge nurse in his direction.
The man, who is not named in the filing, allegedly showed her a tattoo that may have been “a swastika of some kind” and told her that he didn’t want African-Americans involved in his baby’s care.
The request, according to the lawsuit, made its way through management ranks, and was granted. Battle’s manager called her at home to tell her she would be reassigned — and why, the suit says.
She was shocked and in disbelief, her attorney Julie Gafkay told CNN affiliate WNEM. “She was very upset. She was very offended.”
The hospital did not immediately respond late Friday to a CNN request for comment.
A note made its way onto prominent spot on the baby’s medical chart, according to the suit: “Please, no African-American nurses to care for … baby per dad’s request.”
The hospital’s lawyer then objected to the decision, and the note was removed. The staff then told the father that they could no long honor his request, according to the complaint.
Even so, the lawsuits alleges, for more than a month no African American nurses were assigned to care of the child.
CNN’s Marlene Baldacci contributed to this report.