A family in Columbia, S.C., was shocked to find a note with their 9-month-old son’s emergency room number on which a nurse called the family “losers” for not having him vaccinated.
Trevor and Katie Smart brought their baby to Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital after he sustained an injury on Monday evening while trying to pull himself up.
The hospital found the baby had a 101-degree fever. The doctor then ordered an X-ray and wrote him a prescription.
Later, Trevor Smart says, they found a note on an ER table that read “Need to fx, fever, 0 immunizations, Loser!”
It was accompanied by a frowny face.
Katie Smart says she did not vaccinate two of her three children after reading about the ingredients of certain vaccines.
“For her to say that, she doesn’t know why I choose not to vaccinate,” Katie Smart said.
Smart and her husband filed a complaint against 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,” said Katie.
Palmetto Health said the nurse’s behavior was inappropriate and she was placed on administrative leave, WISTV 10 reported.
“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 Palmetto spokesperson Tammie Epps in an email statement.
“Along with taking quick and appropriate disciplinary action with the team member involved, we are using this as a real-time learning opportunity to ensure every Palmetto Health team member clearly understands and reflects our standards of behavior with every patient, every time,” Epps said.
She added that, while they recommend vaccinations for pediatric patients and it is their duty to educate parents so that they can make informed health decisions, “Palmetto Health is always respectful of those decisions.”
The World Health Organization announced Wednesday that more children need polio vaccinations. WHO says it will likely take six to eight months to receive the 50 million doses they need.