Nurse Considers Legal Action after Being Fired for Not Wearing Surgical Mask

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Carla Brock was fired from her nursing position at a Springfield, Mo., hospital for refusing to wear a surgical mask after not getting a flu shot. Courtesy: Springfield News-Leader

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A Springfield, Mo., nurse was fired from her job of 11 years after she refused to wear a surgical mask after not getting a flu shot.

Carla Brock, a nurse at Cox South Hospital, told The Springfield News-Leader she was fired for violating hospital policy — a policy she thinks is punitive and coercive.

Brock is a preadmissions and board-certified holistic nurse who considers vaccinations unnecessary.

“I have spiritual and religious reasons to not have those toxins in my body,” she told The Springfield News-Leader.

Brock said she thinks the hospital’s mask-wearing policy is meant to intimidate and humiliate people into getting vaccinated in order to keep their jobs. Brock argues that if masks are meant to prevent the flu from spreading, visitors should also be required to wear masks when at the hospital.

Stacy Fender, media relations coordinator for the hospital, said their policy is similar to hundreds, if not thousands, of health systems across the country.

“Our first priority has to be the patients,” she said in an interview with The Springfield News Leader.

Brock is unsure if she will take legal action.

“If I have legal rights, I want to exercise them,” she said. “I want to at least consider it.”

But Brock isn’t alone. Others believe masks aren’t vital in flu prevention. In December 2011, the University of Missouri Health Care Network dropped its mask-wearing policy.

“We reviewed national guidelines and determined it wasn’t clear if this procedure would actually improve patient or staff safety,” MU Health Care spokeswoman Mary Jenkins told the Columbia Daily Tribune in 2011.

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1 Comment

  • NCLEX Preceptor

    I think nurses wearing masks are more of a protection from their end as I have read that this nurse refused to have flu shots. Everyday patients come and go into every institution and most of them are sick and contagious. The policy is more of a protection for the health care workers rather than to the clients.

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