Couple sues Wheeling Hospital for wrongful termination of employment

By Kyla Asbury | Sep 8, 2010

WHEELING -- A former employee and her husband are suing Wheeling Hospital after they claim the hospital wrongfully terminated her employment.

Barbara McLaughlin worked as a nurse for 30 years until her discharge in March, according to a complaint filed Aug. 5 in Ohio Circuit Court.

Throughout her 30 years of employment at Wheeling Hospital, McLaughlin claims she was promoted to various nursing and nurse management positions, and most recently, she was promoted to the position of Nurse Manager of IV Therapy, Home Infusion and Special Procedures.

In the week prior the her termination, McLaughlin claims a situation arose in which an IV Therapy nurse had to deal with a malfunctioning chemotherapy pump being used by an outpatient.

"The IV nurse informed the patient that it could take about an hour to address the situation, since the nurse had pending inpatient calls she needed to take care of first," according to the suit.

The patient decided not to wait and the nurse was instructed to disconnect the patient from the pump, flush the line and instruct him to come to the doctor's office the next morning, according to the suit.

McLaughlin claims the situation was brought to her attention and she spoke with the chief nursing officer, who wanted her to write up and discipline the nurse for how the situation was handled. She claims when she went to speak with Cindy Marsh, the chief nursing officer, she was informed that "her services would no longer be necessary."

McLaughlin's employment was terminated in retaliation for expressing her views regarding appropriate staffing, employee compensation and/or patient safety, according to the suit.

McLaughlin and her husband, Mark McLaughlin are seeking punitive and compensatory damages for all economic losses; humiliation; embarrassment; degradation; emotional and mental distress; anxiety; annoyance and inconvenience; and other general damages. They are being represented by Nicholas A. Wininsky.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge James Mazzone.

Ohio Circuit Court case number: 10-C-275

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