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Nurse Fired for Encouraging Cancer Patient to Pray

04-05-2017
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A Christian nurse who was fired after offering to pray with patients before surgery says she was treated unfairly.

Sarah Kuteh has been a nurse for 15 years, but she was dismissed from her job at Darent Valley Hospital in Britain last year after she spoke with patients about faith and prayer.

"All I had done was to nurse and care for patients. How could it ever be harmful to tell someone about Jesus?" she asked.

Kuteh was dismissed in August for gross misconduct, even though her job involved asking people preparing for surgery about their religion. 

In a video posted by Christian Concern, she is giving God thanks for the support she has received from around the world.

"..the Lord has just been so so faithful...It's been my church, my pastor, the kindness of strangers."

Her case was heard by the Employment Tribunal on March 30th.

"I don't want it to look like it was a habit. I would not always initiate it, only when I'm prompted in the questionnaire," Kuteh said at the hearing. She added that rather than being fired, she wished someone would have supervised her and produced a weekly review of her performance.

According to The Telegraph, there were multiple complaints from patients who claimed that Kuteh talked more about religion than procedures and told some that praying to God would help them to survive.

One cancer patient in her care complained after she suggested that if he prayed to God he would have a better chance of survival.

Another patient claimed Mrs. Kuteh was focusing more on religion than completing a pre-operative questionnaire, according to statements submitted to the employment tribunal.

National Health Service management claimed her discussions with patients were "inappropriate" and made some patients "feel uncomfortable."

Victoria Leivers-Carruth, who chaired the hearing, said that the nurse was using her one-on-one time with patients to "impose her religious beliefs" on them.

"We did not believe that Mrs. Kuteh was being disciplined because she was a Christian. It was apparent to us that Mrs. Kuteh was disciplined because she had engaged in conversations about religion that were unwanted by patients and contrary to her line manager's instructions," she said in a statement.

But the nurse said she was only offering comfort and usually only brought up her Christianity if the patient initiated the conversation.

Kuteh's lawyer aruged that she was just showing compassion to people who were suffering.

"A nurse without compassion would be unworthy of the name.  On top of performing her immediate duties, a good nurse would try and find words to say to her patient, said Pavel Stroilov.

But Sarah Collins, general manager for medicine at Darent Valley Hospital, said Kuteh "spirituality blurred the professional boundary" between herself and patients.

"Despite having been warned against such behaviour on two occasions, she persisted with questioning patients on religious grounds,' she said in a statement.

During the hearing, the judge in the case said "Many people are not religious and there are many people that object.  It is a subject fraught with difficulty and as a consequence people should not express anything about their own beliefs without it first being raised as a question by someone else."

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Center, objected to the judge's comment:

"This religious illiteracy is pushing Christians out of public life and robbing society of the service of many good people like Sarah Kuteh," she said.

Meanwhile, Kuteh calls her dismissal unfair and is seeking reinstatement and compensation.

Judgment in the case is expected by the end of April. 
 

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