No Black Nurses Allowed | Courthouse News Service
Tuesday, November 28, 2023
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No Black Nurses Allowed

FLINT, Mich. (CN) - A Michigan nurse sued her hospital for outrage, claiming it honored the request of a swastika-tattooed man that no black nurses care for his baby.

Carlotta Armstrong sued the Board of Hospital Managers of Hurley Medical Center, and nurse managers Mary Osika and Sue Conkwright, in Genesee County Court.

Armstrong is a registered nurse in Hurley Medical Center's Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

The complaint states: "That on or about October 31, 2012, the white/Caucasian father of a white/Caucasian infant told the staff, specifically but not necessarily limited to the Charge Nurse, that he did not want any African-Americans caring for his baby, and further, pulled up his sleeve and showed some type of tattoo which, upon information and belief, was a swastika of some kind.

"That after the father made the discriminatory request to not allow African-American nurses to care for his baby, instead of flatly denying the request, defendant Osika was notified of this.

"That defendant Osika had the Charge Nurse, defendant Conkwright, and/or other staff member(s) reassign the baby to a non-African-American nurse or nurses.

"That on or about November 1, 2012, defendant Osika met with defendant Hurley management and/or supervisors, including but not necessarily limited to the Director of Women and Children Services and Director of Nursing, and further, a decision was made to grant the father's request that no African-American employees would care for the baby. A staff meeting followed and was conducted by defendant Osika when she informed those present of the policy decision of defendant Hurley to not allow African-American employees such as Carlotta Armstrong, plaintiff, to be assigned to the care of this baby in the NICU.

"That when Carlotta Armstrong, plaintiff, reported to work, she learned that there was a note prominently posted on the assignment clipboard that read as follows:

"'Please no African-American nurses to care for (name of baby) baby per Dad's request. Thank you.'

"That upon information and belief, the aforementioned note was written by defendant Conkwright.

"That the aforementioned discriminatory request was, in fact, followed and practiced for the balance of the time the baby was in the NICU, and at defendant Hurley, and further, African-American employees/staff/registered nurses like Carlotta Armstrong, plaintiff, were intentionally not assigned to the baby. African-American nurses like Carlotta Armstrong, plaintiff, were not assigned to the baby for the next month because of their race and/or color."

Armstrong seeks damages for outrage, emotional distress and damage to her professional reputation.

She is represented by Tom Pabst, of Flint.

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