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Tom Joyner Morning Show commentator Jacque Reid goes “Inside her Story” with nurse Tonya Battle and her attorney Julie Gafkay in an exclusive interview about Battle’s suit against her employer, the Hurley Medical Center, over being banned from touching a white man’s baby after he requested that no black nurses touch his son.

Read the full interview below.

TOM JOYNER:  And from our New York studios lets go to Jacque Reid and Inside Her Story.  Good morning, Jacque.

JACQUE REID:  Good morning, Tom, Sybil and Jay.  Listen, for anyone who thinks we are living in a post racial society, this story out of Michigan; a nurse is suing a hospital where she works, the Hurley Medical Center, after she was asked not to work on a newborn baby in her unit.  And it turns out that the father asked that no African-American nurses work on his child at that hospital and allegedly, the hospital granted his request.  I’m going Inside Her Story with Nurse Tonya Battle and her attorney, Julie Gafkay.  Good morning, ladies.

TONYA BATTLE:  Good morning.

JACQUE REID:  Tonya, let me start with you.  Tell us what happened.  How exactly did you find out that you nor any other African-American nurse could not work on this particular child.

TONYA BATTLE:  I was assigned to this child, the father of the baby came in to visit his baby.  I introduced myself, told him I was taking care of the baby, checked his ID band and he said that he wanted, he needed to see my supervisor.  I in turn told my charge nurse.  She talked to the father and that is what he told her, that he didn’t want any African-Americans taking care of his baby.

JACQUE REID:  And then who came to you?  A supervisor?  Or was there a note on the chart?  How did you, how was that message related to you?

TONYA BATTLE:  My nurse manager had a meeting, I guess with the father, who requested that to her, and then she called me at home and told me that, yes, we’re going to grant his request.

JACQUE REID:  What about in the delivery room, Tonya.  I mean do you know if there were any black doctors or nurses in there when the baby was delivered?

TONYA BATTLE:  No, I don’t know about the delivery room.

JACQUE REID:  And I read something about a swastika tattoo.  Did the father have one?  Or what are those details?

TONYA BATTLE:  I didn’t see the swastika, but according to my charge nurse that night, he pulled up his sleeve and showed her what she believed to be was a tattoo of a swastika.

TOM JOYNER:  Is that legal?

SYBIL WILKES :  To have a swastika?

TOM JOYNER:  No, no, no.  The request to …

JACQUE REID:  No, to make this, no.  Right, Julie, let me bring you in here.

TOM JOYNER:  No African American nurses can touch my baby.  Is that legal?

JACQUE REID:  Julie is Tonya’s attorney, and if this played out the way Tonya has said, legally can the hospital do this?  I mean what rights do patients have?

JULIE GAFKAY :  Well, in my legal opinion, and the reason the lawsuit has been brought is because it is a legal violation.  It is race discrimination, and it is a violation of Tonya’s civil rights under the Equal Protection Clause.  This is a public hospital, a city hospital, and they’re charged with the responsibility of following the constitution.

TOM JOYNER:  So why didn’t the hospital just say; look, man, we can’t do that, that’s illegal.  We’ll get sued.

JULIE GAFKAY :  Well, that’s exactly what they should’ve said, initially, was hey; we don’t honor requests like that.

JACQUE REID:  Now, Julie, is it possible because according to you yesterday, the hospital has not responded to your filing of this lawsuit.  Is there any way that they could deny what happened, or say there was a misunderstanding based on the evidence?

TOM JOYNER:  They wrote it.

JULIE GAFKAY :  Based on the evidence.  I feel pretty strongly in the allegation and the complaints are based on what information we have now.  We physically, Tonya physically saw a note, and has a picture of a note, that was written, that said; ‘No African-American could care for this baby.’And that note was directed to written by a supervisor.  And my client was directly told; you’re being reassigned.  And then subsequently was called and told we’re going to honor the request.  So there’s no mistake that the request was initially granted.  Now what the hospital will say is after a day or two they went to the father and said; we’re going to reverse that, we’re not going to grant that request, we’re not going to do that.  The problem is though; one, it was initially granted.  And two, the baby was in the NICU for another 30 days, and my client was never scheduled again to be assigned to that baby where she naturally, typically would’ve been assigned to a baby like that in her are.

TOM JOYNER:  How much are you suing for?

JULIE GAFKAY :  We’re going to let the jury decide.

JACQUE REID:  Tonya, how long have you worked at this hospital?

TONYA BATTLE:  I worked there it will be 25 years in June.



JACQUE REID:  And this is the first time you’ve have that?

SYBIL WILKES :  The first time …

JACQUE REID:  Any other issues like this?

TONYA BATTLE:  No, I’ve not come across any issues like this in my entire career.


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17 thoughts on “EXCLUSIVE: Tonya Battle Talks with Jacque Reid about being Banned from Touching a White Baby

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  2. The education of African Americans and some other minorities lags behind those of other U.S. ethnic groups, such as Whites and Asian Americans, as reflected by test scores. African Americans lagged behind whites in 2000 by nearly a factor of two. However, it is less frequently observed. black and Hispanic students who do manage to earn a diploma, a large percentage are functionally illiterate. Black high-school graduates perform, on average, at a level that is four academic years below that of their white counterparts. These failed schools are run entirely by Democrats and progressives who, as author Jonah Goldberg points out, have “controlled the large inner-city school systems for generations.” Indeed, the powerful teachers unions overwhelmingly support the Democratic Party and its left-wing agendas; the bureaucrats at the Department of Education overwhelmingly hold progressive political and social views; and the ideological orientation of America’s teacher-training colleges is decidedly leftist. All of these factors have combined to create the proverbial train wreck that is public education in the United States today.

  3. 55th st silverbacks on said:

    OKAY , so i am new to this. i do not have online access at home and i have just come into the fold.either i am overwhelmed by the amount of overt signs of racism or all of the doubters i have had heated debates with concerning the race relations in this country need this web address. and our racial divide is not by accident. we are naive if we believe in bad luck or by chance. with no cable (by choice) i watch and love pbs this week has been great for all the truth be told history that has been revealed , strange that while we are being entertained all the true stories of how we have been treated and based on history what is to come pass us by. QUESTION by law are we concidered 100% human?

  4. Alan Kardoff on said:

    Does she know the creed, color, race and national origin of each blood donor who helped her? Does she realize that her insurance papers are not just processed by white workers? Does she only take her car to get fixed where all white mechanics work? Are all the people who represent her to government white? Will she be buried in a ‘whites only’ cemetary or cremated by a funeral director who only has white customers?

  5. dtown, perhaps she is picky or the men keep coming up short or basically tell her what they have and thn can not prove it….talking ’bout money, wealth, etc….
    basically fake ballers….

    I know she said at one time she was seeing someone but don’t remember who. J. Anthony Brown or something like that…lol

  6. This is just terrible. But we shouldn’t be surprised. If racist people will openly talk about the President, they will do ANYTHING. To WRITE IT DOWN is crazy!!! I think this nurse wins this lawsuit with no problem or settles out of court for a crazy amount.

    On a totally unrelated this, I don’t understand why an attractive, smart, spiritually minded person like Jacque Reid hasn’t gotten married. Either she is REALLY picky and standards too high OR the men she meets are all too stupid enough to identify this lady as a dime piece that you go out of your waay to get with!!! What am I missing or what do I NOT know??

  7. Once had a Doctor threatened by a woman’s husband who happened to be a ‘policeman’. She came to the hospital to be delivered of a baby and the husband vehemently insisted the African American Doctor ‘not touch’ his wife. The Doctor attended on the woman anyway. But that was a day she was blessed by GOD. Because if I had been the Physician I can tell you I would have walked away in a heart-beat – baby coming out and ALL. And if she died I would have just chuckled. Tied of this Sit.

  8. First week after passing my boards I was assigned two patients as part of my training, both were in there late to mid 90’s, I guess my supervisor thought they had the least to lose. One of my patients was a nun, and had a few sisters visiting with her when I entered the room. I introduced myself and began my assessment, as I listened to her heart she looked up at me and said, ” I’m so glad yall are free.” I looked down at her, smiled, and said, “yes ma’am, I am too.”

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