PRESS: Former nurse sues St. Joseph’s Hospital

September 10, 2019

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As Seen in the Tampa Bay Times on September 5, 2019.

Former nurse sues St. Joseph’s Hospital claiming unsafe staffing in emergency room

Marie David says she quit the hospital in May after taking her concerns to BayCare executives. The hospital disputes her account.

Published Sep. 3
Updated Sep. 5
Click here to read this story in Spanish.
A St. Joseph’s Hospital nurse is suing her former employer over unsafe workplace conditions, which include allegations of “dangerously” low staffing levels in the emergency room.The lawsuit was filed in Hillsborough County circuit court by Marie David, a Pinellas County resident who had worked at the Tampa hospital for the last five years before resigning. St. Joseph’s is part of the BayCare health care system, which employed David for a total of 10 years, the suit said.

In August 2018, David met with managers at the hospital to raise concerns about low staffing levels during overnight shifts in the emergency room and other concerns, court documents show. David claims in the suit that the hospital staffed two overnight triage nurses as opposed to three during the day shift, leaving the department short-staffed at night, which stressed other employees to meet the facility’s needs.

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BayCare officials initially declined to comment on details of the case, citing a policy of not discussing current litigation.

But in a subsequent statement Wednesday, the health system said it disagreed with David’s allegations and called the lawsuit “a retaliation case brought by one former team member.”

The statement added: “We take this very seriously and the team member’s concerns were reviewed by multiple levels of leadership. We will respond with details in the proper legal forum.”

BayCare operates 15 hospitals in the Tampa Bay area.

Scott Terry, an attorney representing David said she was treated unfairly during her time at St. Joseph’s.

“Mrs. David made serious allegations while she worked there, and you would think that BayCare would welcome those kinds of discussions,” Terry said. “But that was not the case.”

Her lawsuit, filed Aug. 21, claims that her meeting with BayCare managers “turned tense” and they became defensive. A complaint details several other meetings between David and BayCare managers, where they told her she would not be promoted and claimed they “took away all of the shifts” where David would work as a charge nurse, overseeing others.

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