Feb 19, 2013



An African-American nurse who is suing a Flint hospital because she said it agreed to a man’s request that no African-American nurses care for his newborn recalled Monday she was stunned by her employer’s actions.

“I didn’t even know how to react,” said Tonya Battle, 49, a veteran of the neonatal intensive care unit and a nearly 25-year employee of the Hurley Medical Center.

Battle’s lawsuit states a note was posted on the assignment clipboard reading “No African American nurse to take care of baby,” according to the eight-page complaint against the medical center.

Hurley, which according to its website was founded in 1908 and is a 443-bed teaching hospital, released a brief statement Monday, saying that it “does not comment on past or current litigation.”

Battle said she was working as a registered nurse in Hurley’s neonatal intensive care unit Oct. 31 when a man walked into the NICU, where Battle was at an infant’s bedside. He reached toward the child, according to the lawsuit filed in Genesee County Circuit Court last month.

“I introduced myself to him. ‘Hi, I’m Tonya and I’m taking care of your baby. Can I see your (identification) band?'” Battle said, referring to the hospital-issued identification used to identify infants’ parents. “And he said in return, ‘And I need to see your supervisor.’"

Perplexed by his curtness, she asked for the charge nurse, who spoke separately to the man.

When the charge nurse returned, she told Battle that the father didn’t want African-Americans to care for his child. Further, the charge nurse told Battle that he had rolled up his sleeve to expose what appeared to be a swastika.

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