Nurses at a drug rehabilitation clinic in Atlanta said the management fired all nurses in April. Two nurses informed Business Insider that the team had been dismissed because they refused to take medical instructions from the manager, who had no medical background. The call, shared with Business Insider, the clinic's manager, was heard: "I'm just going assume that many nurses have no work ethic. As a group, the nurses seem to be much more interested in what is more comfortable for me. " The general manager did not respond to Business Insider's request for comment, and the clinic's parent company said it was company policy not to discuss personnel matters. You can find more stories on the Business Insider homepage.
While nurses around the world are praised as heroes at the forefront, healthcare workers at a drug rehabilitation clinic in Atlanta are said to have fired all of the nursing staff after being classified as selfish and lazy.
On April 13 The Atlanta Detox Center has resigned at least seven nurses, according to Shialla Warren, the center's former nursing director and one of the fired.
ADC executive director Bryan Stephens described the layoffs of employees as a restructuring of full-time nursing staff to employ personnel agencies and nurses.
But Warren and another nurse claim the team was fired because they refused to take medical instructions from Stephens, who has no medical background.
Stephens did not respond to a request for comment. The clinic's parent company, Amatus Health, said in a statement to Business Insider that it was corporate policy not to discuss personnel matters.
"We have an open house policy for employees to discuss their workplace concerns with management and are disappointed that certain individuals have chosen to speak to the media rather than meaningful conversations with our company lead to address their concerns, "it says in part.
Opened in 2018, the Atlanta Detox Center is a residential substance abuse facility in a suburb of Riverdale that houses 44 clients in semi-private bedrooms.
The clinic offers individual, group and family therapy as well as motivational interviews, art and music therapy, fitness facilities and a cinema. Out of pocket, a stay at ADC costs $ 5,000 per week.
Warren said nurses were becoming more resilient when Stephens told them how to care for patients.
"The ED tried to tell the nurses when to give medication, when to test patients for COVID, what clients Genesight testing should be on, and when to send a client to the emergency room could and couldn't, "she told Business Insider.
"He was not authorized to make any of these types of tests decisions," she added, "but he told my nurses because he is the executive director that he had this authority, and that is not the case. "
Stephens" always wanted nurses, including myself, to take medical help from him, and we refused, "said Warren.
Her opposition, she added, "ultimately ended in our resignation."
"ADC fired us because we were African American nurses who were unwilling to succumb to their unethical practices," said Warren.
The pandemic exacerbated the problems in the clinic
The second guess became increasingly problematic when the coronavirus pandemic hit Georgia in March, Warren told Business Insider. ADC was faced with a shortage of nursing staff as employees and their children contracted COVID-19.
"I had several employees sick. Your children were sick. I was sick," she said. "We don't have a huge staff, so it's not like we have a lot of options or people to call."
Warren took over shifts for other nurses, she said, when she was hospitalized twice in late March and early April with COVID-19-like symptoms and sepsis.
Still Working Warren said coronavirus testing in Georgia was rare in the first few weeks of the pandemic, according to the Atlanta Journal constitution, and Warren was initially not tested while receiving oxygen remotely.
But her doctors suspected that she had COVID-19.
By March 27, at least one nurse had tested positive for the disease, the clinic said in an email Business Insider had seen. Nurses say at least two other ADC staff were quarantined with symptoms.
In another internal email from Business Insider, Stephens said that masks were offered, temperature checks were performed on all employees and customers, and external visitors were banned.
In addition, Amatus Health Business Insider said the treatment center was cleaned thoroughly and employees were asked to stay home if they experienced symptoms of COVID-19.
"We continue to operate our treatment center in full compliance with all laws, recommended safety guidelines, and in accordance with our own policies and procedures," Amatus said in a statement.
But earlier ADC nurse Melanie Womack said that only surgical masks were provided, not N95 respirators that offer more protection.
There were too few masks to walk around, she said, and no face shields or dresses.
Nurses at the Atlanta Detox Center claim that the clinic has not taken enough measures to protect them from the coronavirus.
"There is nothing to prevent COVID from spreading inside the building," said Womack, adding that Stephens "is more interested in filling the beds than protecting the staff so that there is no transmission gives."
Womack said she finally left the clinic two days before the layoffs after Stephens failed to tell the nurses that a client who had previously tested positive for the corona virus was coming.
When the client was unable to provide a negative test result, Womack declined.
Stephens overruled her decision, she said, and the client was admitted.
Stephens, The problem was the nurses' lack of commitment, according to a April 11 phone call with Warren that she shared with Business Insider.
"I'm just assuming that many nurses have no work ethic," said Stephens when he called. "As a group, the nurses seem to be much more interested in what is more comfortable for me."
Your mindset, he added, is: "I just want to sit back and take it easy, I am asked, I will go on bail."
Stephens said the nurses shouted too much sick and often stayed at home to take care of their children because their usual childcare was not available with a lock.
"Let a neighbor watch the child", he may also be hearing suggestions.
He also criticized nurses being called heroes and complained about staff in another facility who fired due to insufficient personal protective equipment.
"I would report each of these people to the nursing board," Stephens said when he called. "I would report them all because they refused to enter."
Two days after this call, Warren said, she and other nurses participated in a zoom video chat with Stephens and a representative of the ADC parent company, Amatus Health.
At first, Warren thought they had finally gotten over the problems with Stephens and the need for better protection.
"It sounded as if the call had messed up everything," she told Business Insider. "You were told that KN95 face masks were ordered."
Later that day, however, the nurses received calls telling them that they had been fired.
Warren was actually sick on the day of the layoffs. She said she was now facing $ 68,000 in medical bills after spending more than a week in the hospital.
In an email dated April 15 that Business Insider had received, Stephens Warren blamed for the failure of the "critical crisis in nursing". to ensure adequate reporting. "
But Womack described Warren as" a leader "who" follows guidelines. "
" I've seen their struggle from day one. It doesn't make sense of what took place, "she said.
Deborah Crockett, who was released after working as a nurse at ADC for nine months, believes the layoffs were "retaliation" to address concerns about the coronavirus.
The clinic is particularly at risk, she said, because patients come from the United States.
The National Nurses United union showed empty pairs of shoes representing nurses who allegedly died from COVID-19 in a demonstration to the White House on May 7, 2020.
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images
"I was only in awe when they decided to fire all of the full-time staff," Crockett told Business Insider. "I didn't think it was justified. It was terrible and sad for this agency to fire seven committed and hard-working nurses."
According to Crockett, there were no complaints about her work performance. She said the zoom call even thanked her for continuing to work after the end of her shift in the days before the layoffs.
"So you pay me back? I feel somehow. I really do," added Crockett.
Aiden Miller, a lawyer who represents the dismissed nurses, said they are considering suing.
"We are very confident that there have definitely been some violations of OSHA protection and we are reviewing all other legal options," said Miller, including termination proceedings.
US nurses reported being retaliated for raising concerns about inadequate protection.
In March, a Chicago nurse filed a $ 50,000 lawsuit for damages after declaring she was fired for warning employees of ineffective face masks.
On April 21, Detroit nurse Kenisa Barkai filed a whistleblower lawsuit against her. The Detroit Medical Center claimed she was released for speaking about understaffed and bad conditions.
"We already had problems to deal with this, and when COVID came into existence it only became much more dangerous," said Barkai Detroit Free Press.
On May 7, the National Nurses United union protested to the White House calling for better personal protective equipment and employee compensation, as well as other improvements during the pandemic.