Tonya Battle, a former NICU nurse at Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan sued the hospital for granting a father's request not to allow any black nurses to care for his newborn son, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.
Battle, 49, tells the Detroit Free Press she didn't know how to react when she learned about the request in October at Hurley Medical Center in Flint. Battle sued last month in Genesee Circuit Court seeking punitive damages.
The Free Press said the lawsuit recounted how the neonatal intensive care nurse was at the infant's bedside when a man came in and she requested to see the hospital-issued identification wrist band given to parents of patients. The man responded that " ... I need to see your supervisor."
A supervising nurse spoke with the father who told him he didn't want African-Americans to care for his child; the supervising nurse, reports the Free Press, also told Battle that he appeared to have a swastika tattoo on his arm.
The head of Hurley Medical Center in Flint this afternoon denied allegations that hospital officials relented to a father’s request that African-American nurses not tend to his baby.
Rather, when the father showed a nursing supervisor his swastika tattoo, it “created anger and outrage in our staff,” Melany Gavulic, president and CEO, said in a written statement.
Earlier today, the Michigan chapter of the National Action Network, founded by the Rev. Al Sharpton, staged a small protest in front of the hospital led by the Rev. Charles Williams II, chapter president.