Thursday, March 7, 2013

Racist Request in Hospital : Michigan

On February 20th 2013 an article was published on called Black Nurse Files Lawsuit Against Michigan Hospital After They Honor Mans Racist Request. This article had to deal with Tonya Battle an African American nurse who while working in the Hurley Medical Center of Flint, Michigan was racialy discriminated against. A new white father requested that there be no Blacks taking care of his newborn and the hospital complied with his request. Battle who works in the infancy ward was extremely offend that the hospital so willingly complied to this mans request posting on the clipboard to the room “No African American nurse to take care of baby”. Feeling so offended by the hospitals reactions to this, she started a lawsuit on discrimination of a worker. The president of the hospital stated that it was for her own good as the man clearly showed them a swastika tattoo and that the hospital was interested in her safety.

 This article shocked me as it shows how racism is still very much prevalent in today culture. The willingness of the hospital to comply gives me two thoughts either they were willing to just fulfill his requests or they actually where afraid for the woman’s safety. To me I feel that they just wished everything to go smoothly or they would have informed her for the reasoning of not working with that particular baby instead of waiting for the law suit.

 Also Michigan is a northern state, which makes the article much more interesting as when you think of racial problems the South is attributed not the North. Myself coming from New England never hear about racism and for my culture it is very much shunned to talk wrongly of another race. I guess I never really realized that there work groups of people that are still racist in the north having never bumped into any.

My question is how would you reach if you were in her situation. Would you feel that it was done in order to protect or to comply?

The article is here


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Here's a much older example of this, and all I have is a photo. I found originally on a list of most thought provoking historical photos that I stumbled upon somewhere on the internet. Here's a link.

    The photo is of several African American physicians and nurses fighting to save the life of a Klu Klux Klan member in full garb who had sustained what looks to be several gunshot or stab wounds to the chest. This for me invoke feelings of James Baldwin's philosophy of using love even when it is not given, and this photo is an incredible example of the fulfillment of this philosophy.

    Responding to your post, I think that if the hospital was indeed doing it for the nurse's protection, then such a note should have been made on the clipboard, but instead it only read "No African American nurse to take care of baby."

    This is a complicated issue, as a doctor would be violating his or her Hippocratic Oath to turn down the treatment of the baby, and yet, violating moral code to uphold his request.

    Regardless, I think the nurse who filed the discrimination charge was certainly founded and justified in doing so.