Ohio Nurse Brings Wrongful Termination Lawsuit

By Peter Levine posted in Discrimination, Employment Law, Law on November 20th, 2013

Operating Room Nurse Claims Wrongful Termination After a Healthy Kidney Was Discarded

Operating room nurse, Melanie Lemay, fired from the University of Toledo Medical Center (UTMC) almost a year ago after a kidney intended for transplant was accidentally discarded, has filed a lawsuit against the hospital for wrongful discharge, defamation, slander, and libel. The lawsuit seeks damages exceeding $25,000.

Allegedly the kidney, was accidentally disposed of by another nurse, Judith K. Moore. Ms. Moore, a part-time employee resigned. Mrs. Lemay, a 30-year employee of UTMC was fired.

Nurse Claims Healthy Kidney Was Accidentally Discarded Due to Computer System

According to lawsuit, on the day of surgery, Moore failed to log out of the hospital computer system before taking a scheduled break. The oversight required Lemay to make entries in the system under Moore’s chart while Moore was on her break.

Upon returning from her lunch break, Moore failed to obtain a status update before proceeding to remove the kidney from the OR and disposing of it.

Lemay upholds she did not witness the removal of the items and was unaware they had been removed after the other nurse had returned from her break.

Tragically, the kidney was a viable organ. Lemay claims she was fired for failure to stop the other nurse from removing items from the operating room before the procedure had concluded, as well as violating policies on communications and logging out procedures but that UTMC implemented new policies and procedures for responsibility of transfers in operating rooms six days after the incident occurred.

Nurse Claims Wrongful Termination Due to Policies Implemented After the Kidnay was Discarded

Lemay also alleges that the dossier of hospital OR policies and procedures that hospital administrators submitted to investigators with the Department of Health was identified as having an effective date of August 16, six days after the failed procedure in question.

The complaint claims Lemay’s firing was motivated by UTMC’s “need to deflect its responsibility for the inadequate policies that were in place on Aug. 10, 2012, and to uphold the public image of its kidney transplant program.”

State officials denied the initial claims for unemployment benefits. But after two telephone hearings with witnesses the Unemployment Compensation Review Commission ruled that Mrs. Lemay “was discharged by the defendant without just cause in connection with work.”

Vesper C. Williams II said, “It’d be nice. Something. Because she was only six months from the ability to retire. By getting fired, she lost the ability to get the next six months in and lost her health insurance after 30 days, and she was the primary breadwinner.”

Peter K. Levine
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