An Ohio nurse was fired by her boss after refusing to come in to work while sick with the flu.
According to KIRO7, Theresa Puckett was a “fill-in” nurse at University Hospitals in Richmond Heights when she called out sick with the flu one time in December.
At one point, Puckett was also sent home from work when others noticed she was displaying flu-like symptoms at the hospital.
Because she had technically been absent twice in 60 days, officials determined that Puckett had violated the hospital’s attendance policy, and she was fired. Continues on the next pages…
“I was putting in my cough drops, I was drinking my water,” she recalled. “I mean the whole nine yards just to patch myself up enough to go to work.”
Puckett is now speaking out about the hospital’s rigid attendance police, calling out the medical community in general for prioritizing a full staff, even if it means spreading illnesses to patients.
“When it happened to me, and I really, truly was too sick to go to work, I was punished for that,” she said. “I was punished for staying home with a doctor’s note.”
University Hospitals is now claiming that their “no-fault” attendance policy, which means “notes from a physician do not ‘excuse’ an occurrence of absence,” is consistent with policies in other hospitals around the country.
“I am more sick than the patient lying in the bed.”
According to University Hospitals, because of the strict attendance policy, the only acceptable absences include leaves of absence, scheduled paid time off, jury duty, workplace illnesses or injuries, and bereavement leave.
Since Puckett did not have a previously scheduled doctor’s appointment, her doctor’s note was apparently meaningless to her supervisors.
“There are times where I have gone to work so sick that the patient who is laying in the bed is in better condition than myself,” said Puckett. “I am more sick than the patient lying in the bed.”
The irony of Puckett’s firing is that University Hospitals has been urging patients on social media to stay home and rest when they have the flu.
Since KIRO7 shared this shocking story on Facebook, several commenters have slammed University Hospitals for forcing nurses to work while sick.
“Ok so visitors with the flu who may stay what an hour can’t come to the hospital, but she has to be there a full shift spreading it. And also flu is not an excusable absence but work related illness is. How in the hell do they know she didn’t get it at work. That would be a work related illness. My job you sniffle wrong and they send you home and majority of time it still wiped out everyone,” Jaimee Mearl Shaug commented. “I’m also currently fighting my kids school be cause they believe that unless you are vomiting you should be there so that you can spread the germs and make your friends and teachers sick too. That is going on with this country.”
Melony Judd Pake added:
“I guess it’s time for patients to start sue-ing hospitals for getting them sick. And start complaining to the CDC about hospitals that force infectious staff to work with unsuspecting patients and passing germs along. How stupid. If I was one of those nurses, I’d tell them I’m sick and infectious and then cough and touch them. They deserve to be sick.. for being that stupid.”