Mom Says Pediatrician Kicked Her Out Of Office For Breastfeeding
Disturbed mother Erin Peña recently reached out to KCBD News to complain that of all places, she was asked to leave the waiting room of an OB/GYN – Pediatrician’s office at University Medical Center in Lubbock, Texas for breastfeeding her baby. According to her version of events, the receptionist told her that breastfeeding was not permitted in the waiting area and asked her to do so in the bathroom or a private room because other patients began complaining. When she refused, she says the receptionist threatened to cancel her son’s vaccine appointment. Peña complaint, which she posted to KCBD’s Facebook page reads:
“I’m so furious and upset. I just got thrown out of my Ob/Gyn/Pediatrician’s office for breastfeeding! The receptionist told me I couldn’t breastfeed in the lobby and had to go to the bathroom or room in the back. I said I had the right to breastfeed anywhere. She said if I don’t stop she will cancel my baby’s appointment. His appointment was for his vaccines!
I refused and she canceled it, so I went to find the doctor thinking she would be reasonable and she wasn’t. She was condescending, kept calling me honey. I said, ‘No one in the lobby even cared.’ She rudely said, yeah they do they just don’t say it to your face. I said they were wrong and it was illegal what they were doing. She called security on me and I left with the officer. The guy asked what happened and when I told him, even he was like, What? That’s what this was about???
I’m so disgusted. My doctor even lied saying I was walking around with my breast hanging out, even though she never saw what happened. I was just sitting there in a chair. It was sickening.
Even though it’s against the law, I would respect a restaurant’s wishes if it asked me to leave, but a pediatrician’s office at UMC??????”
According to Everything Lubbock, there were several other mothers nursing in the waiting room; however, some people became uncomfortable because Peña was uncovered. Interestingly, per Texas law, “A mother is entitled to breast-feed her baby in any location in which the mother is authorized to be.” The law noticeably makes no mention of said mother being required to cover up for the rules to apply. The medical institution has since addressed the situation, telling KCBD that Peña was not kicked out of the facility because she was breastfeeding, but because she was in an area of the hospital where she was not supposed to be.
“The patient eventually went back to complain to the doctor. She was then in a place where she was not allowed to be, so she wasn’t asked to leave because she was breastfeeding,” UMC spokesperson Eric Finley said. “But still, had we acted more appropriately this never would have happened.”
Finley also apologized on behalf of the hospital stating that they should have never asked Peña to nurse in another room or cover up in the first place.
“Our staff asked that woman to leave unless she covered herself up, which is absolutely wrong. We apologize to that mother and to all breast-feeding mothers,” he said.
A hospital, especially a pediatrician’s office, is probably the last place anyone would expect to hear about an incident like this happening.