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Topic: Racial discrimination claim at Hurley Neonatal
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Interview with plaintiff and her attorney

Post Tue Feb 19, 2013 9:01 pm 
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El Supremo

Second Hurley nurse sues Flint hospital over claims it honored father's request for no black nurses

By Ron Fonger | rfonger1@mlive.com
on February 22, 2013 at 10:00 AM, updated February 22, 2013 at 10:34 AM
Sam Riddle, political director for the National Action Network speaks outside Hurley Medical Center Tuesday, Feb. 19 in support of nurses who claim the hospital honored a father's request that no black nurses care for his child. File photo

GENESEE COUNTY, MI -- A second nurse is suing Hurley Medical Center, claiming the hospital discriminated against her by honoring a father's request that no black nurses care for his child.

The new lawsuit, filed Thursday, Feb. 21 in Genesee Circuit Court, echoes the claim of nurse Tonya Battle who sued Hurley in January,
claiming she was not allowed to treat the same infant because of her race.

"This reminds me of Rosa Parks (being told to) sit in the back of the bus," said Tom Pabst, a Flint attorney who filed the second lawsuit on behalf of nurse Carlotta Armstrong. This is "relegating competent, good people ... to second-class employees."

The Flint Journal could not immediately reach Joan Pierson, an attorney for Hurley, for comment. A hospital spokeswoman could not be reached for comment.

Both lawsuits claim a no-black-nurses order was issued after the father of an infant patient showed hospital staff a swastika tattoo and made the request on Oct. 31, 2012.

Armstrong's lawsuit also claims nurses were told Hurley was honoring the father's request during a staff meeting and claims a hospital supervisor posted a note on an assignment clipboard that read, "Please, no African-American nurses to care for (name of baby) per Dad's request. Thank-you."

The Battle lawsuit has brought national media attention to Hurley, and on Tuesday, Feb. 19, representatives of the Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network rallied in protest outside Hurley.

Hurley Chief Executive Officer Melany Gavulic said Tuesday that said the no-black-nurses request was not granted and said all nurses remained available to care for the baby in question.
Post Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:39 am 
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El Supremo

No-black-nurses lawsuit against Flint's Hurley Medical Center moves to federal court

By Ron Fonger | rfonger1@mlive.com
on February 21, 2013 at 6:05 PM, updated February 21, 2013 at 8:34 PM

FLINT, MI -- Hurley Medical Center is making a federal case out of claims of racial discrimination.

A lawsuit that claims Hurley refused to let a black nurse treat an infant because of her race has been shifted to federal court at the request of the hospital, according to filings in Genesee Circuit and U.S. District courts.

Filed by nurse Tonya L. Battle, the lawsuit claims the father of an infant patient at Hurley requested that no black nurses care for his child.

Battle claims her supervisor reassigned the infant from her care to a different nurse, granting the father's request.

Hurley has denied the claim, which has attracted attention from across the nation, including a protest this week by representatives of the Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network.

A notice of removal filed in U.S. District Court says Battle claimed Hurley had a duty not to purposely interfere with her federally protected Constitutional rights, particularly the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

Hurley attorney Joan N. Pierson said in the federal court filing that U.S. District Court has jurisdiction over Battle's constitutional claim and may also assume jurisdiction over her claims under state law.

Pierson would not comment on Hurley's move to shift the case from circuit to federal court when contacted by MLive-Flint Journal.

MLive-Flint Journal could not immediately reach Julie Gafkay, attorney for Battle, Thursday, Feb. 21, for comment.

Hurley has not yet filed a response to Battle's allegations but Chief Executive Officer Melany Gavulic said Tuesday, Nov. 19, that the father's request was not granted and that all nurses remained available to care for his baby.

Staff writer Dominic Adams contributed to this report.
Post Fri Feb 22, 2013 12:10 pm 
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El Supremo

NAN Michigan President Detroit's Reverend Charles Williams' Discussion Concerning 'White Privilege' Is Certainly Worth A View Check It Out

Let It Rip: Discrimination lawsuit filed against Flint hospital
A Michigan hospital is on the defense after being accused of honoring a white father's request that only white nurses take care of his baby. Now the issue is at the center of a lawsuit..
Post Fri Feb 22, 2013 12:26 pm 
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El Supremo

The question is being asked about women who feel uncomfortable being assisted by a male RN. Also do African Americans feel more comfortable with African American doctors?

I understand Pabst's point with his comparison of this incident with Rosa Parks.
Post Fri Feb 22, 2013 12:30 pm 
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Letter: Knowing that you are a good nurse is all that matters, not everyone will like you
MLive/Flint Journal guest opinion By MLive/Flint Journal guest opinion
on February 26, 2013 at 11:00 PM, updated February 26, 2013 at 11:04 PM

So what did the nurse learn from this experience of a lawsuit?

After working for 15 years at a hospital and retiring, I can say from experience, that was a dumb thing to do.

Yes, the father of the patient was stupid but two wrongs don't make a right.

If for ANY REASON the patient doesn't want a nurse to take care of them, you just change patients with a co-worker and go about your business.

No problem! Doesn't Hurley teach that???

You don't call "out-of-towners" and complain that your feelings were hurt. If YOU know you are a good nurse that's all that matters. You can't have all the people like you all the time. Hasn't she ever changed patients for some reason or other?

Shame on everybody that made such a BIG production out of this.

Check out more Flint Journal Opinion pieces and letters at www.mlive.com/opinion/flint.
MLive.com. All rights reserved.
Source: www.mlive.com/opinion/flint/index.ssf/2013/02/letter_syble_franklin.html
Accessed: February 27, 2013
Post Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:37 am 
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Dave Starr

A retired nurse, who happens to be black, told me this happens quite often. She said she never had a problem with it because the family of that patient was usually a giant pain in the rear anyway.

I used to care, but I take a pill for that now.

Pushing buttons sure can be fun.

When a lion wants to go somewhere, he doesnt worry about how many hyenas are in the way.

Paddle faster, I hear banjos.
Post Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:23 am 
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El Supremo

At the press conference for the nurse Tonya battle, two other women were present but the local media did not identify.

The Detroit papers identified them as two additional nurses that were part of the original lawsuit. They were Lakisha Stewart and Latoys Butler. I have yet to see in the local media that there may be a male who filed a gender discrimination action prior to the nurses lawsuit. Allegedly he was told men could not work in the neotatal unit.

And don't forget the karen Mcdonald Lopez lawsuit recently filed that alleged racial discrimination in the hospital.
Post Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:37 am 
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El Supremo

Flint NAACP confronts Hurley board after no-black-nurses lawsuits

By Kristin Longley | klongley1@mlive.com

on February 27, 2013 at 8:22 PM, updated February 27, 2013 at 9:01 PM
Flint resident Eric Mays speaks to the Hurley Medical Center Board of Managers at its meeting Wednesday night regarding claims of racism against black staff members at the hospital.Kristin Longley | MLive.com

FLINT, MI -- A group of Flint residents and representatives of the Flint chapter of the NAACP confronted the Hurley Medical Center Board of Managers Wednesday evening, Feb. 27, with concerns regarding claims of racism at the hospital after a lawsuit sparked national attention.
"We see a pattern here," said Aonie Gilcreast, political action chairman of the Flint NAACP. "I'm listening and I'm looking and I'm seeing a pattern, a troubling pattern here, that's very disturbing."

The public comments came after Hurley had settled a lawsuit with a nurse who claimed the hospital honored a father's request to not let black nurses treat his infant son. The hospital denied that it granted the father's request.

The lawsuit was settled Friday, but not before it garnered national media attention and a visit from protesters from the Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network, a civil rights organization. A second nurse has since filed a lawsuit related to the father's request.

Flint resident Elizabeth Taylor said it isn't right that the case landed Flint on the national news, and called for board members to do something about the claims of racism.

"You have board members who know these types of things are intolerable," she said.

Aonie Gilcreast, political action chairman of the Flint Chapter of the NAACP, speaks to the Hurley Medical Center Board of Managers at its meeting Wednesday night.Kristin Longley | MLive.com
Flint resident Eric Mays said the hospital board should meet with local community members to address the allegations.
Five people spoke to the board regarding the lawsuit and more than a dozen people crowded into the conference room for the meeting.

"I realize anybody can file a lawsuit, but if these allegations have merit I'm saying, Madame Chair, it's troubling," Gilcreast said. "We're still praying that things can change -- 2013."

Flint resident Nayyirah Shariff said the board should use the opportunity to "transform the hospital."

"I hope you dont view this as something that could be swept under the rug," she said. "Hurley is a bright spot in this community -- do not allow this to tarnish it... Thats something we need to see in the community: You willing to change."

Board Chairwoman Charlotte Edwards did not specifically address the comments during the meeting, but thanked the speakers.

"The board wishes to thank you for sharing your concerns," she said.

Gilcreast, whose wife, Frances Gilcreast, sits on the Hurley board, said the NAACP will be watching how Hurley handles this case and other allegations that may surface.

"We are independent," he said. "Nobody can muzzle us. We have a moral obligation to this community."

Board members moved into closed session shortly after the public speaking portion of the meeting and were not immediately available for comment.
Post Wed Feb 27, 2013 11:48 pm 
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El Supremo

After the Detroit NAN dealt with the issue, suddenly it seems that everyone wants in for whatever reason.

Last Saturday Pastor Flynn announced the CPSA needed to be involved, although he was somewhat unaware of the problem. Pastor Threkheld at least showed up for the press conference although he did not speak.
Post Wed Feb 27, 2013 11:52 pm 
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El Supremo

The M-live commenters were certainly vocal about the issue!

Jeffrey S Fillmore

In December 2004 I made the media rounds after winning a racially charged case. I was the Plaintiff. I'm a white male. I stood up and took a stand to protect ALL minorities. I was terminated.

With Tom Pabst as my attorney, we won a unanimous case (with an all white jury) against a major local company.

Myself, along with Tom Pabst tried to arrange a meeting with local NAACP members - as of this writing, I have never heard a word from anyone.

I was the insider who stuck up for those less fortunate. I was the one who observed discriminatory practices.

Coming from Beecher and having many black friends over the years, I helped to right a wrong yet NO one, from any inner city minority organization, ever returned our calls.

FOX news did the story. ABC12 did the story. NAACP never returned my call.

With this particular story, HMC is a major employer and contributor to so many. NAACP - stay out of it. I handed you the biggest racially driven case in recent history with national implications and you chose to not return my calls in late 2004, early 2005.

Now you want to take a stand? Make a statement? Embarrassing and classless on your part.


You know I am so sick and tired of the NAACP. They complain about racism but they are the most racist organization on Earth. If you want equality you have to earn it and demanding preferential treatment is NOT equality. Earn It!!!!

Imjustsayin likes this.


The NAACP nationwide is a joke. They are not doing enough to force the innercity to clean up their acts and raise their children properly. They are also not addressing black on black crime. They are simply collecting dues, having big conventions, awards events and they do not represent the average African Americans.

Jeffrey S Fillmore and TruAmericanBob like this.


The usual City Council regulars Mays, Shariff none who have regular jobs taking Hurley to task. Aoine (Convicted Felon) Gilcrest who runs from law enforcement has no credibility. His wife sits on the Hurley board yet remained silent until everything blew over. These two are why the Flint branch of the NAACP are a joke.

Jeffrey S Fillmore, TruAmericanBob and Imjustsayin like this.


Eric Mays is a joke. He is an anchor around the necks of the black community. His opinions carry no weight whatsoever. The NAACP should put a muzzle on this guy and put him on a shelf.
The NAACP is not part of the solution but part of the problem. What they need to do is leave Hurley alone,as Hurly is surely a responsible employer and is responsible to the community.
The NAACP needs to go out into the black community and monitor the truancy of these so called good little boys and girls, kick the pants of the so called parents to get their attention, making sure the kids get to school and graduate. Most can't even qualify for any branch of the military. If the NAACP can accomplish the above then they will have earned the right to complain about lesser problems. This group gives NOTHING back to the community in which they live.

Imjustsayin likes this.


The problem has been solved, one supervisor exceeded their authority and hospital policy, that has been corrected. The NAACP is just looking for publicity and is accomplishing nothing.

Jeffrey S Fillmore, Imjustsayin, Numero407 and bodrell like this.
Post Wed Feb 27, 2013 11:58 pm 
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El Supremo

NAN takes on Nazi racism
Posted by: The Michigan CitizenPosted date: February 28, 2013In: Featured News, State & Nation| comment : 0

Rev. Charles Williams II, president of Michigan National Action Network (NAN), and Sam Riddle, political director for NAN, speak outside Hurley Medical Center in Flint.

Drives quick Flint hospital settlement

Staff Report

FLINT Within days after the Michigan National Action Network (NAN) intervened, Hurley Medical Center in Flint quickly settled a lawsuit filed by an African American nurse, Tonya Battle, against the hospital after she was not allowed to care for a white baby.

The babys father had allegedly demanded that no Hurley Black staff were to care for his newborn after displaying a swastika to Battles supervisor in Hurleys neonatal intensive care unit. A note was posted on the white babys chart directing that no Black staff were to tend to the baby.

We held very productive meetings with the CEO of Hurley, legal counsel and staff of the hospital and made it clear that hospital practices that preclude caring for patients on the basis of race will not be tolerated under any circumstances, said Rev. Charles E. Williams II, president of the Michigan NAN.

The moment Hurley allowed the posting of that note to prevent Black nurses from caring for that baby, Hurley institutionalized racism by caving into the demands of a Nazi, said Sam Riddle, political director of NAN.

Riddle noted there is work to be done despite the settlement.

The settlement is the tip of an ugly Hurley iceberg. NAN has been deluged with complaints from Hurley employees alleging racial bias and NAN is in continuing talks with Hurley, said Riddle.
Post Fri Mar 01, 2013 6:44 am 
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El Supremo

Report: American Medical News weighs in on recent Hurley racial discrimination lawsuit

By Sarah Schuch | sschuch@mlive.com
on March 04, 2013 at 1:00 PM, updated March 04, 2013 at 1:01 PM

FLINT, MI -- The racial discrimination lawsuit at Hurley Medical Center continues to get national attention.

A recent American Medical News report discusses the best way to handle a patient request for a health care provider of a certain race.

The report states, "When patients make demands about who should care for them based on race or ethnicity, the correct response is to refuse those requests, say experts on health law and medical ethics."

A Hurley nurse filed a lawsuit in late January claiming racial discrimination after she claimed a father requested that no African American nurses treat his baby.

Melany Gavulic, president and chief executive officer at Hurley Medical Center, read a short statement during a news conference Friday, Feb. 22, with Battle and fellow plaintiffs Lakisha Bah Stewart and Latoya Butler. The statement said, "This situation in the NICU was triggered by conduct which was not consistent with Hurleys polcies."

The lawsuit was settled in February.

The American Medical News report states that granting discriminatory patient demands is unwise.

The report said:

"Patients are, of course, free to seek out physicians who suit their preferences, but health care organizations need not acquiesce to requests rooted in hatred, said (Nancy Berlinger, PhD, a research scholar at the Hastings Center, a bioethics think tank based in Garrison, N.Y.). Reassigning health professionals on the basis of race not only sets back the goal of a society free from discrimination but also could endanger patients by upsetting the usual flow of work and provision of care, she added"
Post Mon Mar 04, 2013 7:25 pm 
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