Hospital responds to claims of racial discrimination - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Hospital responds to claims of racial discrimination


The hospital at the center of a racial discrimination lawsuit has issued a new statement.

Hurley Medical Center President Melany Gavulic spoke to TV5 for the first time since the allegations.

A nurse filed a lawsuit against the hospital for discrimination. According to court documents, she was caring for a baby when the child's father made a request that no African-American nurses take care of his baby.

The hospital president confirms the father made the request, but her story is different from the allegations made in the lawsuit.

"The father was informed that his request could not be honored," said Gavulic.

According to the lawsuit, the hospital didn't assign any black nurses to the baby during the hospital stay, which lasted more than a month. The lawsuit also refers to a note taped on a hospital clipboard, "No African-American nurse to take care of baby."

The Flint Medical Center said the move was to ensure the safety of staff members.

Al Sarpton's National Action Network held a press conference outside the hospital to demand answers.

"She lit the fire and now we're going to fan the fire and we're going to make sure this is taken care of," said the Rev. Charles Williams II with the National Action Network.

Below is the hospital's full statement regarding the incident:

Hurley is proud to be the safety net provider for this community for over 105 years.  We value the support of the patients who entrust us with their care and the dedication of our physicians and staff.  This includes Nurse Battle and her quarter century of professionalism and dedication.

While I cannot comment on the suit and answer questions, I can share some insights. The issue was triggered by a father of a baby who demanded that no African American nurse be involved in his baby's care. Upon making his demand, he then showed Nurse Battle's supervisor his swastika tattoo, which created anger and outrage in our staff.  This resulted in concern by supervisors for the safety of the staff.  The father was informed that his request could not be granted. 

Hurley Medical Center has had a rich history and reputation of supporting and valuing diversity and remains committed to our policy of non discrimination.  As a premier academic medical center, Hurley strives to continuously provide education to our staff.  This issue will be used in future training sessions to ensure that employees are prepared to handle situations such as this. We appreciate the community's concern and involvement, as we publicly clarify the facts of this case. The medical center looks forward to a quick and amicable resolution."

 Melany Gavulic, RN, MBA

President & Chief Executive Officer

Hurley Medical Center

Stay with and TV5 as we continue to investigate the claims of racial discrimination against Hurley Medical Center.

For more details on this story, click here. To read the full complaint, click here.

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