Hospitals Punish Workers Who Expose Management Failures

(p. B5) In New York City, the epicenter of the crisis in the United States, every major private hospital system has sent memos in recent weeks ordering workers not to speak with the media, as have some public hospitals.

One system, NYU Langone Medical Center, which has more than 30,000 employees at six inpatient centers, dozens of outpatient facilities and the New York University School of Medicine, sent an email on March 27 [2020] warning that staff members speaking to the media without permission “will be subject to disciplinary action, including termination.” The email was reported earlier by Bloomberg.

Administrators suggested “appropriate” posts on social media instead. “Please share positive and uplifting messages that support your colleagues and our organization,” they said in another email.

Similar lines are being drawn nationwide. A doctor in Washington State was removed from his hospital position after speaking publicly about a shortage of protective equipment and testing; the staffing firm that employs him said he was being reassigned. Nurses in Detroit recently walked off the job to protest critically low staffing after a colleague who had spoken up on the issue was fired.

For the full story, see:

Noam Scheiber and Brian M. Rosenthal. “Nurse Questions Hospital On Safety. He’s Out a Job.” The New York Times (Friday, April 10, 2020): B1 & B5.

(Note: bracketed year added.)

(Note: the online version of the story was updated April 15, 2020, and has the title “Nurses and Doctors Speaking Out on Safety Now Risk Their Job.”)

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