Sixth lawsuit in a year filed against hospital

An advanced registered practice nurse who formerly worked at WhidbeyHealth Medical Center filed a lawsuit against the hospital district this week, claiming wrongful termination, discrimination based on sexual orientation, retaliation and failure to pay wages.

This is the third lawsuit filed against the hospital by a former employee since September. Three medical malpractice lawsuits were also filed against the district this year.

The hospital district doesn’t comment on pending litigation, said chief legal officer Jake Kempton.

“However, we value our relationships with our employees,” he wrote in an email, “and appreciate the excellent care and compassion they provide to our patients.”

In the most recent case, Morghan Milagrosa is suing the hospital and her former boss.

The complaint states that Milagrosa, who is also a certified midwife, went to work at the hospital in 2017 and was fired “for cause” in July 2019.

The complaint offers a glimpse into a complicated and intense working environment. It includes a lengthy description of Milagrosa’s interactions with other staff and supervisors. She made repeated complaints about a host of issues at the hospital and claimed her concerns were either ignored or she was retaliated against.

Milagrosa complained many times about nurses she claims were inappropriately intervening in patient care and even discharging patients without orders. She complained that fellow employees and a manager made unnecessary and repeated comments about her sexual orientation.

The complaint states that a physician accused Milagrosa of sexual harassment for making a sexual comment about him, which Milagrosa claims is false. Later, the complaint states, hospital officials required her to attend a meeting in which they asked her about a possible sexual relationship she was having with a physician and suggested she was in the relationship to get the physician on her side in staff conflicts.

The complaint describes Milagrosa’s conflict with a locum tenem doctor, which is a temporary or fill-in position. Milagrosa claims he inappropriately took control of her patient and performed a caesarean section, using a “medically unnecessary” incision used only in emergencies.

The lawsuit states that hospital officials repeatedly placed Milagrosa on leave and disciplined her, which she saw as retaliation for her complaints. Hospital officials eventually fired her, the complaint states.

In October, a registered nurse who worked in the emergency room filed a lawsuit against the hospital, accusing officials of wrongful termination, disability discrimination, violations of the Family Leave Act as well as other allegations.

In September, a former health unit coordinator filed a lawsuit claiming a supervisor ignored her complaints about harassment from a fellow employee and retaliated against her; she also claimed that the human resources manager ignored her complaints.

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