A nurse fired from the North Bay Regional Health Centre spoke out publicly for the first time today.
Michael Hurley, who is the president of Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU), forewarned members of the media that Sue McIntyre would not be able to offer any comments other than her prepared statement and she wouldn’t be able to answer questions.
Hurley said that right after McIntyre spoke on a panel in January against hospital violence; the North Bay Regional Health Centre terminated her as registered nurse.
See previous story: Give fired nurse her job back.
McIntyre then read from the statement that had been agreed upon by her lawyer.
"I'm a registered practical nurse. I've been employed at the health centre for the past 12 years. The problem of violent attacks on health care staff is extremely serious. It is a problem that cannot and should not be ignored. Because of my pending legal case, my lawyers have asked that I not talk about or answer any questions regarding any specifics concerning the North Bay Regional Health Centre or my case. Well certainly it is unfortunate that I have been fired, one positive aspect is that my termination, to some extent has moved the issue forward of violence against health care staff into the spotlight where it belongs. I want to thank my family, friends, the people of North Bay and surrounding areas and right across Ontario, for the tremendous outpouring of support and for telling me how important free speech is in a democratic society. Their support has really boosted my spirits and kept me going, so thank you for hearing me out.”
After McIntyre’s statement, Hurley said the union decided to hold the press conference in hopes that the hospital would be held accountable by the community. “In health care, people can be beaten to a pulp and told to shut up about it."
When a reporter asked what Sue is doing at this time, Hurley said McIntyre is working for the union producing a film on violence in the workplace. He said he hoped that McIntyre would not suffer any undue economic hardship as a result of the litigation.
McIntyre seemed to hold back tears as Hurley said that she was brave in speaking out and that workplace violence is a political issue.
A board is to be set up to arbitrate her case with representatives from both the union and the hospital.
OCHU Vice-President Sharon Richer said in support of Sue McIntyre, a huge rally will be held February 29 at the North Bay Regional Health Centre. Supporters from all across Ontario will be bused to North Bay for a 12 noon start time.
The union will also hold a town hall meeting for the public on March 21 the Royal Canadian Legion, 150 1st Ave. West in North Bay.