Is It 2013 Or 1913? African American Nurse Sues Michigan Hospital After Being Banned From Caring For A Caucasian Newborn

February 18, 2013  |  

It’s quite ironic that as our country celebrates Black History Month, we have some Americans who are still walking around as if Jim Crow laws are still being enforced. An African American nurse by the name of Tonya Battle is suing Hurley Medical Center in Michigan after the hospital banned her from taking care of a Caucasian newborn that was being kept in their intensive care unit, reports the Huffington Post.

According to the legal complaint acquired by WNEM TV 5, the father of the infant flashed Battle’s supervisor “a swastika of some kind” and requested that no Black personnel be included in the care of his baby. The supervisor is said to have agreed to and granted the request made by the newborn’s father and informed Battle that she was being removed from the chid’s case. Court documents also reveal that Battle’s supervisor placed a note on the infant’s file that read:

“No African American nurse to take care of baby.”

While reports suggest that the hospital’s attorneys eventually rejected and overturned the supervisor’s decision, the barring of Black nurses from taking care of the newborn was said to have been carried out for about a month. Battle is now suing the hospital for emotional stress, in addition to the damage that the lawsuit has done to her reputation as a medical professional.

She is said to have also filed a complaint with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

One would think that something as minuscule as skin color would be irrelevant when it comes to the health of a sick newborn, but apparently some are still caught up in a web of ignorance. It’s difficult to even imagine how humiliating this entire experience has been for Tonya Battle.

What do you think of the hospital’s decision to honor the father’s request of  keeping African American staff members from caring for his baby?


Jazmine Denise is a news writer for Madame Noire. Follow her on Twitter @jazminedenise.

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