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Sterling Employment Law

Nurses union files suit over whistleblower provision violations

According to a group of Michigan nurses with the Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital, there are serious safety issues at this health care facility. Allegations include inadequate staffing, patient harm and poor conditions just to name three. The nurses union to which these professionals belong also claims that hospital leaders "violated the whistleblower provisions of the Michigan Public Health Code."

Specifically, the union alleges that executives with the hospital are refusing to accept staff ADO (Assignment Despite Objection) reports about unsafe conditions. Staff members, including nurses, file these reports anytime they cannot carry out their assignments "safely in accordance with professional standards." When filed, these ADO reports must receive a response within 60 days.

Reportedly, nurses with the Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital have already filed 240 ADO forms from Jan. 1 through Sept. 1 of this year. The union alleges that the safety issues of the hospital are a direct result of understaffing. Some of these issues include:

  • Patient falls
  • Patients left unattended after heart procedures
  • Medication delays
  • Use of restraints instead of proper supervision
  • Lack of cleanliness
  • Lack of Intensive Care Unit training for nurses

The nurses say that their supervisors have outright refused to accept the ADOs. Reportedly, these nurses also want to protect their right to become whistleblowers, which is the main reason why their union is filing a suit against the hospital.

The hospital has responded by denying any allegations of unsafe conditions. It claims the nurses are simply using patient safety issues as a bargaining chip while their contracts are under negotiation.

Whistleblowers can speak out in any wrongful situation and in any industry. All claims of wrongdoing deserve a critical investigation and a potential whistleblower can protect his or her rights throughout this process by working with an attorney.

Source: Healthcare Finance, "Michigan nurses union sues Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital over alleged staffing, patient safety issues," Beth Jones Sanborn, Nov. 03, 2017

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