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Nurse fired for comment about fatal crash

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A Yuma, AZ nurse was fired last week after posting a social media comment casting blame on the victim of a fatal crash, according to the Yuma Sun.

Nurse Angela Gusta commented on a Sun online article that Todd McIntire, who died after his motorcycle hit an ambulance, was at fault for the accident. An investigation of the accident is pending.

If the ambulance was on a run and had lights or siren on, the cyclist was in the wrong, PERIOD. If he died, aw, but sorry, HIS FAULT. As an ER nurse who sees people REGULARLY not get out of the way of ambulances, cops firemen…Got no pity for anyone hit by any of the above. Pay attention and get out of the way (Gusta, YumaSun.com).

Gusta was let go from the Yuma Regional Medical Center following a slew of furious comments that came in response to her post.

The vice president of communications at the Yuma Regional Medical Center, Machele Headington, told the Sun this was the first time the company has fired an employee for a social media post.

“Most times we just let comments go by,” Headington said in a Sun interview. “Rarely do we comment on postings or even editorials, truly. We feel like people have the right to their opinion. But in this case, they were essentially putting YRMC in a position that would reflect to the (McIntire) family that we don’t care or have compassion for the situation. We don’t want that to be the case.”

What do you think: Was the center right to fire Gusta for her public lack of compassion? Or was the punishment far too extreme?

Source: Yuma Sun

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17 Responses to Nurse fired for comment about fatal crash

  1. Nurseymcnurster

    I don’t think she should have been fired. So what if she comes across harsh and uncaring.. I don’t think that means that she is. I agree as I live off of a very busy road and I have to deal with cyclists all the time who almost get ME killed because they refuse to go ride their bike on a road wide enough to handle both cars and bikes.

    She is an ER nurse, of course she cares about people! So she has lost her filter on things over the years. So what. If the cyclist caused the ambulance to crash would it have been ok? I am sick of politics. She didn’t do her job wrong, she didn’t kill anyone.. If you want to give her a slap on the wrist write her up, but don’t fire her bc you don’t like her OPINION! I think it reflects worse on the hospital than if they just let her be. I would NEVER want to work for a facility where I could be fired for something so ridiculous. Isn’t having to bite your tongue or live in fear called communism? FYI to the people that feel safer going to this hospital bc she was fired.. IT doesn’t mean the other nurses/doctors don’t feel exactly the same way, they are just too scared to say it now!

    • Nurseymcnurster

      I don’t see an edit button so I will have to add it here, What I meant by if the ambulance crashed would it have been alright is if the people in the ambulance died but the biker lived would her comment have been more accepted?

      • picklescupcakes

        absolutely not. Her comment was wrong in any situation. What you should know is that the driver of the motorcycle was not at fault. The driver of the ambulance made a u-turn directly in front of him. The ambulance did not have lights or sirens as it was not on a call.

  2. momiscrazy

    I feel that comment was completely inappropriate, especially since she identified herself as a nurse. I think it’s very irresponsible to post such an insensitive comment about someone who died when she does not know the facts surrounding the accident.

  3. Steph Student

    You can say something with a nasty attitude or with diplomacy and tact…she didn’t need to speak ill of the dead to make the point about moving over for emergency vehicles.

  4. RNCCRN9706 RN

    I don’t think she should have been fired. Sure she identified herself as an ER nurse but no where does it state in that post WHERE she works! Whatever happened to freedom of speech??

    • picklescupcakes

      She did not need to state where she works because there is only one hospital in town. Everyone who read the article and her comment knew where she worked.

  5. Humanbean

    @RNCCRN9706
    Freedom of speech is only a protection from the government. A business has a right to care how it’s employees are portraying themselves to the public. This case seems particularly specific, and it’s no wonder it didn’t take long for people to figure out what event was being referenced. She should have been more circumspect, and certainly more compassionate.

  6. shougie64

    I also do not feel she should have been fired. Freedom of speech. Sounds like grounds for a court case. I do not agree with her lack of compassion in her choice of words, a disciplinary action would be appropriate, or an apology for the lack of compassion maybe. She did no physical harm, it did not interfere with her getting her job done. If I were the nurse, I would find me a lawyer and file a case against the hospital.

  7. steph RN 59

    she sounds very ignorant since the official investigation had not been released. but I do not think she should be fired for this! she didn’t mention the hospitals name, so I don’t know how she can be fired for this. she should call a lawyer!

  8. Amy RN

    I feel as if in this day of social networking, as a professional we must be very careful what we post on our facebook and twitter accounts…people are looking. Right or wrong the cyclist died, he or she has a family and friends who could be devistated by careless remarks. Think about how you would feel if it were your family member…would you want someone to say something so mean spirited? There is plenty of time for placing blame and accepting responsibility, but first there must be time to grieve, and grieving families need that time and respect, no matter who is at fault; they have suffered a tremendous loss and need time to absorb that. This nurse should be aware that when we care for patients, we care for their families and significant others in their lives as well. We don’t have to agree, but we do need to be respectful. I feel that the hospital was well within their rights to discipline her, but termination may have been a bit harsh. I think educating her as to why, even if that was her opinion, that it might have been inappropriate to post it is such a public manner.

  9. Bigsister1956

    Fired? Heck no. Nurse No Name had the right to give personal opinion…hospital jumping the gun (CYA). However, Nurse No Name may need a break from ER as they do have a tendency to get a tad cynical with time.

  10. picklescupcakes

    I absolutely feel this nurse should be fired. She spoke openly about a patient. Not only did she speak openly about a patient she did it on a newspapers local forum. This has nothing to do with the nurse’s right to free speech and everything to do with patients’ rights. I personally know people directly involved with this case. People should not blast others when they don’t know the whole situation.
    Just because someone is a nurse does not mean they care. Also it should be known that the ambulance did not have lights and sirens on as it was not on a call. It had been recalled. The driver turned a u-turn in front of a guy on a motorcycle. He was not on a bicycle. He was driving behind the ambulance when it veered to the shoulder before making the u-turn. No warning was given. It just made the u-turn. The man driving the motorcycle did not have a chance.
    What she did was absolutely wrong and she deserved what she got.

  11. luzfigueroa81 RN

    Yes, it was a very heartless thing to say and out of respect for the family, a personal/public opinion such as hers didnt help them with the grieving process nor did it show this nurse’s compassion. However, it was too harsh to have had her fired. People (whether related or tied to the victim or not) shouldn’t speak out of anger. Anger almost always fuels hatred. I’m pretty sure she felt some type of remorse once she realized the damage (of her words) had been done. We all make opinions like this from time to time, whether subconciously or not, on ALL topics (i.e. racism, sexism, etc). She’s human, she made a mistake, and there could be a million reasons as to why she made that statement. The only thing that sets her apart from the rest of the world is that she made the comment on the newspapers page and everyone else shares these same opinions amongst their own close family and friends knowing all the FACTS or not.When have you ever heard of someone retracting their opinions BEFORE knowing all the FACTS. As nurses we do need to show compassion but as human beings, we are also entitled an opportunity to right our wrongs..so now I say..”Let he who is without sin……”

  12. FlyGirl RN

    Whatever happened to social graces?

  13. anurse74

    I am a nurse I have worked in every aspect of nursing and I understand her comment I can see this from both sides. As a nurse we see people on a daily basis who make bad choices that most often hurt innocent people, does that mean we don’t do our job, and take care of the drunk driver who killed a family of four ? No it means we do our jobs the same wether your the Queen of England or the neighbor hood drunk. Do we get tired -yes do we take it out on our patients -no nurses are often the first to realize there is a significant change with the patient we are also the first to be yelled at when the dr has made an error or someone needs an extra pillow or the fact that there is one nurse for fifty seven patients and we can’t spend two hours in your loved ones room every 10 min taking them to the rest room! Nursing comes with great joys as well as great sadness at times and almost always frustration but every one deals with these things differently, some of us make snarky comments, most of us have a dark sense of humor. Just like any other job that deals with the public any comment you make will anger some, appall others, encourage/discourage others and outright laugh at some.

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