Over the summer, Methodist Dallas Medical Center admitted it had made a teensy weensy mistake and accidentally slipped the wrong kidney into one of its organ recipients.
Such an error could have easily killed the patient had her body rejected the organ, but it didn't. The kidney turned out to be a match, and the recipient suffered no real harm, save from that holy-shit moment when the hospital mentioned that it had accidentally pulled the old switcharoo.
Methodist, in full damage-control mode, voluntarily suspended its transplant program and fired the employee it said had improperly matched the donor ID number to the recipient's name. A review determined the mistake was isolated, and Methodist reinstated the program three weeks later. Then, on Thursday, Ruth Bunton outed herself as the fired nurse in a lawsuit against Methodist.
Bunton claims she shouldn't have been fired. She'd worked at the hospital since 1993 and had never been reprimanded for health or safety violations, according to the lawsuit. When she realized that an error had been made during a kidney transplant on June 19, she reported the mistake to her superiors. She was placed on suspension then fired two weeks later.
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This was not because she failed to follow proper procedure, she claims in the lawsuit, but simply because she reported the error. She also claims that the fact that she is black and over 40 had something to do with her termination, since two Asian doctors on the transplant team were not punished for the botched transplant.
Bunton says Methodist, though it never mentioned her by name, dragged her reputation through the mud by telling the media that a long-time employee had made the error, thus "subjecting her to ridicule and shame to those that know that she was a long time employee at Methodist and have worked with her over the years."
All of this caused Bunton "mental anguish wherein she lost sleep, weight, and suffered adverse gastro-intestinal symptoms" for which she is seeking compensation, not to mention the wages, vacation pay, benefits, and court costs she's also asking for.
Methodist has not responded to a request for comment.