Nurse was fired for offering spiritual care to patients. Does prayer come with legal risk?

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Last month, a UK court rejected Sarah Kuteh’s most recent appeal. Sarah Kuteh is the name of a British nurse who was fired from the hospital where she had worked because she spoke openly with patients about her faith.

Nurse was fired for offering spiritual care to patients. Does prayer come with legal risk?
Nurse was fired for offering spiritual care to patients. Does prayer come with legal risk?
According to the court of appeals ruling “The Respondent employer did not have a blanket ban on religious speech at the workplace” “What was considered to be inappropriate was for the Claimant (Kuteh) to initiate discussions about religion and for her to disobey a lawful instruction given to her by management.”

Kuteh is the latest of many cases of Christian medical workers in the UK who faced punishment for sharing their faith at work.

Court documents also allege that Kuteh, who is a Pentecostal Christian, encouraged the patient to sing along as she sang Psalm 23 and that she held his hand tightly as she prayed an “intense” prayer that went “on and on.”

Little more than two months after the incident, adjudicators had concluded that Kuteh’s conduct violated Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) rules, and she was fired for gross misconduct.

Although she was punished for what the law call “gross misconduct”, there are many others who have praised Kuteh’s methods.

Sarah Kuteh
Sarah Kuteh
“Many Ghanaian Christians have a habit of talking about Jesus all the time, even though in the UK it is seen to be culturally inappropriate,” said Graham Miller, the CEO of London City Mission. “Praise the Lord for Sarah’s compassionate heart and courage!”

Kuteh’s case is not unique, Caroline Petrie, another UK nurse was suspended from her job for offering to pray for a patient during a home visit; Shirley Chaplin, was dismissed from her position after she was ordered to remove or hide her crucifix for “health and safety” reasons and refused, setting in motion a case that made it all the way to international court. Richard Scott, British doctor, shared his Christian faith with a suicidal 24-year-old patient. Scott said the patient told him to “go for it” and was found guilty of malpractice.

In regards to all that, Physician James A. Tulsky of the Harvard Cancer Center says “Spiritual issues are central to patients’ experience of illness, particularly when they are really sick”. To ignore spirituality is to ignore a central piece of what it means for many people to be a patient”.

Sarah Kuteh shares her story on ITV's This Morning

Sarah Kuteh, a former NHS nurse, shares her story with ITV This Morning.Commentator and broadcaster, Nick Ferrari, says: "I think all this young lady is guilty of is caring too much… Last time I looked we are living in a Christian country… It was just a couple of weeks ago that the Prime Minister said people should not be afraid to show that they are Christians in their workplace."

Posted by Christian Concern on Wednesday, December 14, 2016
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