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Michigan Hospital Accused Of Racial Discrimination Says Father's Request Was 'Initially Evaluated' (VIDEO)

02/20/2013 04:49 pm 16:49:53

A Michigan hospital accused of racial discrimination has addressed some of the allegations against it.

In a statement posted on Hurley Medical Center's website, President and Chief Executive Officer Melany Gavulic confirmed certain details cited in nurse Tonya Battle's lawsuit involving a request made by the father of a newborn patient.

According to the suit, Battle, who's black, was barred from treating a newborn patient after the baby's father revealed a swastika tattoo to her supervisor and asked that no black staff be involved in his child's care.

While the Hurley CEO said she could not comment directly on the lawsuit, she did state that the father's "request was initially evaluated."

A photo obtained by local ABC affiliate WJRT (seen in the video above), shows the note that was allegedly appended to the patient's file. The note restricted black staff from caring for the child.

Although Gavulic told reporters Tuesday that "the father was informed that his request could not be granted," the suit alleges that the hospital honored the request for more than a month before informing the man that it could not be permitted.

"We have proof that when the discriminatory request was made, the hospital granted the request," Battle's attorney Julie Gafkay told the New York Daily News.

Gavulic's statement also contradicts what that father revealed to WJRT. The parent, whose name has not been released, told the ABC affiliate that he did make a request and that his wish was honored for at least one day.

Activists with Al Sharpton's National Action Network demonstrated outside the hospital Tuesday, calling for hospital staff and administrators to undergo sensitivity training so that discriminatory policies are not instituted in the future.

"What we’ve got to take note of is that this hospital institutionalized racism as soon as they posted [a sign saying] no African-American may serve this baby," Rev. Charles Williams II, president of the Michigan chapter, told the Detroit Free Press. "That’s what makes this more heinous."

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