A former employee of a New York Methodist Hospital teaching facility in Sheepshead Bay has filed a lawsuit against the facility, claiming staff knowingly exposed the public to potential health risks, and terminated her employment when she tried to make it known.
According to the complaint filed earlier this week with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, plaintiff Shagufta Syed alleges that while working as the program director last year at Methodist’s Center for Allied Health Education, School of Radiation Therapy, located at 1401 Kings Highway, she learned that students who had not received a required health clearance — which would entail providing proof of receiving flu and hepatitis shots and being screened for contagious diseases — were “coming into contact with patients who had significantly compromised immune systems as a result of their cancer radiation treatment,” contrary to the Rules and Regulations of the State of New York.
Those students, she claims, worked with patients receiving radiation therapy at Methodist, SUNY Downstate Medial Center, the Brooklyn Hospital Center, LEROS, and the Lutheran Medical Center.
Upon telling one of her supervisors, Syed claims in the lawsuit that she received this response:
“Don’t worry about it. Nothing’s ever done right here.”
The complaint says Syed then reached out to the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology about the situation, and once her Methodist supervisors learned of this, she claims she was fired for doing so.
The complaint further alleges that upon submitting a claim for settlement, Methodist’s lawyers sent a letter claiming they had “documented facts” that could “prove costly” should Syed decide to pursue the litigation, but that those facts were not presented when requested pre-litigation.
Syed is claiming a loss of income from what she says is a wrongful termination, along with emotional distress, and is suing for the sum of $75,000.
“We cannot comment on the lawsuit brought by the individual whose employment was terminated,” Methodist said in a statement responding to the lawsuit. “However, we can assure you that, as required by regulatory agencies and accrediting bodies, our radiation therapy students receive the same health clearances as our employees before they are allowed to enter into clinical rotations.”
— Mary Bakija