Former employee files suit against Erlanger - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Former employee files suit against Erlanger

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

An Erlanger social worker has filed a $500,000 lawsuit against the hospital, saying she was fired for raising questions about a July suicide.

In the lawsuit, Veronica Lackey claims she wasn't properly trained to run a "code,' needed for an emergency when Lackey and a co-worker found a nurse trying to administer CPR to a man who hanged himself with a belt in a restroom.

The nurse asked the two to give the "code" for the medical emergency; Lackey says she didn't know how to do that and went to the nurse's station to alert them.

No nurses could be found at the nurses station, only the clinical documentation improvement employee.  Lackey then located five on-duty nurses in the break room.  She told the nurses a code was needed and all the nurses left the break room. 

No code was ever issued. 

The patient died soon thereafter.

Lackey was later contacted to meet with the Vice President of Case Management and a Human Resources Representative to discuss disciplinary action against her.  

The reasons for the disciplinary action were; Lackey didn't call a code, she was spreading rumors that the nurses were unavailable, she created improper documentation as to the suicide victim, and she missed a meeting to discuss the hanging.  The lawsuit also states Lackey was disciplined because she "did not have the 'nurses' backs" and was a disruption to the work environment.

Lackey was later terminated.

An investigation by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued a "Notice of Right to Sue" to Lackey.

Erlanger responded Wednesday afternoon with the following statement:

“When the truth surrounding these employment decisions come to light, Erlanger is absolutely confident it will prevail against the meritless and often misguided claims in Ms. Lackey’s lawsuit.”

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