Nurses at Detroit’s Sinai-Grace Hospital Sue for Unlawful Firing During Coronavirus Crisis

Published on June 29th, 2020

coronavirus medical malpractice detroit thurswell lawThe Detroit Medical Center is under fire again, this time for alleged flaws within its Sinai-Grace emergency department. Four nurses are suing Tenet Healthcare, the for-profit parent company of the medical center, which runs Sinai-Grace, alleging they lost their jobs because they spoke out about unsafe conditions at the hospital during the influx of COVID-19 cases in late March and early April.

Preventable Deaths in Detroit Hospital

You want to trust that, should you find yourself in the hospital, the medical team that is caring for you is doing so with all possible resources at their disposal. Lifesaving treatment was in short supply as the first wave of the coronavirus hit, and many patients became victims of the overwhelmed Sinai-Grace hospital which did not have the resources or staff to deliver the proper care.

In one case, a young man sought treatment at the emergency room when he had trouble breathing. But his ventilator came disconnected and, without the staff to adequately monitor him, he died, according to a former clinical coordinator from the Sinai-Grace emergency department, one of the four people who are each seeking $25 million in damages from their former employer.

This is just one horrific example of dozens of deaths that could have been prevented with the proper staffing. A spokesperson for the Detroit Medical Center, however, has different information to impart.

Tattletales or Truth Tellers?

While the former nurses who filed suit allege they were fired for speaking out about the hospital’s unsafe conditions, claiming violations of the Michigan Whistleblowers’ Protection Act, a Sinai-Grace internal investigation claims instead that each person violated social media and technology rules of conduct.

Photos of bodies piling up in body bags on the floor, on a bed, in a chair, in a refrigerated truck, and in non-refrigerated empty rooms were released to the media, showing how Sinai-Grace had run out of space in the morgue. The source of these photos was linked back to the fired nurses. The nurses’ attorney said those pictures were not leaked by his clients to CNN, and he alleges that they are taking the fall for knowing that a photograph had been taken showing their employer’s illegal conduct. And now they have lost their employment.

One of the fired nurse’s explains how she was told to store a recently deceased body in an empty sleep lab, a decision she didn’t feel good about but did as she was told. Such an action is inhumane but also dangerous for many reasons, especially because of contamination from an infectious disease like coronavirus.

The Truth About Coronavirus Deaths at Sinai-Grace

The complaints about hospital conditions continue to pile up the more the story comes out. Some wards had obscene patient-to-nurse ratios, with one of the fired nurses saying one unit had 26 patients for two nurses. Patients simply could not get the necessary monitoring and treatment because of understaffing, while dozens more did not get what they needed because of lack of supplies, monitors, beds, and even chairs.

Complaints about infection-control problems, along with inadequate nursing staff at Sinai-Grace, triggered an investigation from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs in April, but the hospital was never cited for any violations and was found to be compliant.

The nurses still have plenty more to say, about denying patients CPR, about the sharing of ventilators between patients, about how it may not have been coronavirus at all that took their loved one’s life but inadequate care and supplies at the hospital.

Did you or a loved one receive inadequate care at an overwhelmed hospital? Are you a medical worker who was improperly treated because you were fighting to help patients and improve conditions? If you have suffered in preventable ways because of a hospital’s failings, contact the Michigan personal injury attorneys at Thurswell Law to get the compensation you deserve. Schedule a consultation by calling (248) 354-2222 today. We do not charge any fees until we win.

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