A South Carolina couple had their feelings hurt when a nurse implied their 9-month-old son was a loser because he hadn’t received any vaccinations.
Trevor and Katie Smart brought the boy Monday evening to Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital after he was injured while pulling himself up to walk.
When the baby was examined, medical personnel found that he had a 101-degree fever and doctors wrote him a prescription and ordered an X-ray.
Then a nurse came into the emergency room and left a note on the table that referenced their room number.
“Need to tx, fever, 0 immunizations, Loser!” the note read, along with a frown-faced caricature.
Katie Smart, who said she’d chosen not to vaccinate two of her three children after researching the ingredients of different vaccines, said she felt like the nurse was judging her.
“For her to say that, she doesn’t know why I choose not to vaccinate,” Katie Smart said.
Her husband said the behavior was inappropriate, unacceptable and unprofessional, and the couple filed a complaint with the hospital.
“The behavior of our team member in this situation does not reflect Palmetto Health’s standards of behavior, and we sincerely apologize for what happened,” said Tammie Epps, spokesperson for Palmetto Health, in an email statement.
The nurse was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation, Epps said, although she didn’t identify the staff member.
Epps said the hospital advocates vaccinating pediatric patients, but she said they recognize their role is to provide accurate information to educate parents and their families about any health care decision.
The Smarts said they filed the complaint to ensure that other families who made the same decision as they have about vaccinations are not treated the same way while seeking care from the hospital.
“I’m worried that this might not be a one incident kind of thing, and that is the only children’s hospital in the area that we can go to,” Katie Smart said.
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