A Georgia hospital agreed Friday to pay $150,000 to our client, an RN Supervisor fired after just 77 days on the job, for refusing to accept and dispense pills she feared could be dangerous. She was arriving to start her shift one night when a departing nurse asked her to take custody of a “med-cart,” containing, among other things, a Ziploc sandwich baggy with loose Schedule IV pills inside. Such pills are always sealed inside sterile blister packs for patient safety, so our client immediately became alarmed. Worse, the departing nurse could not explain where the loose pills had been, whether they had become contaminated, or how they came loose. Our client refused to take possession of the med-cart as long as it contained the suspicious baggy. The next morning, she was fired. Her bosses specifically cited the med-cart incident as a basis.
One theory developed by our trial team was that the costly medications had already been charged to patient accounts, and discarding them would result in chargebacks to the hospital.
The Georgia Board of Nursing regulations specifically forbid nurses from “[U]sing inappropriate or unsafe judgment, technical skill or interpersonal behaviors in providing nursing care.” Further, Georgia’s excellent public whistleblower law provides powerful protection for those who act in good faith to refuse what they believe are unlawful or unsafe practices. When our client contacted us, we immediately accepted and filed suit under Georgia law.
Settlement On The Eve of Trial
Late Friday, as one of our trial teams began to move into a suite of hotel rooms to set up for trial Monday, the hospital’s lawyers called and agreed to settle the case. Jim Garrity was going to personally handle the trial, and was set to arrive Monday.
Unfortunately, no one will ever know whether the pills had been contaminated and thus could have caused severe injuries or death. The hospital destroyed the pills, and did not send them for testing to a lab or to law enforcement. But our client would not have administered the pills under any circumstances, and chose to lose her job rather than place her patients’ safety at risk. She was thrilled with the outcome, and with being completely vindicated.
Have you Suffered Retaliation for Speaking Out on the Job?
Florida and Georgia both have strong anti-retaliation provisions for whistleblowers in the public and private sectors. If you’ve spoken out about wrongdoing or unsafe practices in the workplace and suffered retaliation as a result, we’d like to hear from you. There is no charge for a consultation, and you may be entitled to a substantial recovery. Call us at 800-663-7999, or message us privately on our business Facebook page at http://www.Facebook.com/JimGarrityOnline.
We represent employees across Florida and Georgia, in every kind of workplace issue: whistleblower retaliation, hostile work environments, discrimination, harassment, medical leave violations, workers’ compensation retaliation and dozens more.