A nurse in the United Kingdom has been relieved of her duties for allegedly breaching guidelines by praying with patients at the hospital. She is yet to be recalled despite calls from human rights groups.
Sister Sarah Kuteh, a nurse with over 15 years of experience, faced this puzzling discrimination notwithstanding the fact that her duties include “asking people preparing for surgeries about their religion,” the Daily Mail reported.
“Disproportionate and punitive,” was her description of the unfair dismissal as she prepares for a lawsuit against the hospital management.
Kuteh believes she had offered comfort to her patients who felt at ease talking with her about their religious beliefs.
The mother-of-three got emotional as she was led away from Darent Valley hospital in Dartford, Kent, following her suspension.
“It was embarrassing for me – and painful after all I had done in my years as a nurse,” she said.
“I was told I couldn’t even speak to my colleagues. All I had done was to nurse from my heart.
“How could it be harmful to tell someone about Jesus?”
Kuteh worked as a nurse in London before moving over to Dartford in 2007. She became a sister in 2012, and worked in the Intensive Unit Care.
In 2015, she was given a new role to verify patients’ health before they’re taken in for surgery. Part of the questionnaire included a question on religion, and she claims to have willingly helped patients while filling the forms.
As a devoted Christian, Kuteh admitted to striking religious conversations with some patients without their express permission.She was cautioned in April and advised to desist from discussing personal beliefs.
The management at Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust said she knew that her actions were a breach of guidelines on official conducts, adding that “the unwanted and unprofessional discussions had upset some people.”
Meanwhile, the suspended nurse claims she only rendered help after some patients asked questions on how they should fill the box marked “Religion”. She said that on few occasions, telling people how her faith in God helped her overcome bad times served as an encouragement to many.
“I had no intention of imposing my beliefs on others,” she added.
Kuteh was sacked in August after the hospital management informed her that they had received three more complaints from patients, the Daily Mail added. The nurse says she was never informed of the last reports against her.
One of the offended patients said she felt embarrassed to her Mrs Kuteh preach to her. Another one said the nurse offered her a free bible and a prayer, against her wish.
The sacked nurse lost her appeal for a recall, and has since contacted the U.K. Employment Tribunal with support from the Christian Legal Center.
Unfortunately, the trust said: “We have a duty to our patients that when they are at their most vulnerable they are not exposed to unsolicited beliefs and/ or views, religious or otherwise.
“We feel we have acted appropriately in this case.”