Nurse of 15 years is fired after offering the Bible to a cancer patient
Officials at the Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford in the UK fired nurse Sarah Kuteh in 2016 for repeatedly talking to patients about her faith. This included one incident with a patient who marked "open-minded" to a question about religion on a form.
Kuteh, a 50-year-old mother of three, allegedly made the patient uncomfortable in a "very bizarre" incident that occurred on June 3, 2016.
The patient claimed Kutah "told him that the only way he could get to the Lord was through Jesus," according to court documents. "[She] told him she would give him her Bible if he did not have one; gripped his hand tightly and said a prayer that was very intense and went 'on and on'; and asked him to sing Psalm 23 [The Lord is My Shepherd] after which he was so astounded that he had sung the first verse with her. He described the encounter as 'very bizarre' and 'like a Monty Python skit'."
Check out an interview with the Christian nurse in 2017 (Part 1):
The court documents describe other incidents where Kuteh allegedly engaged in inappropriate behavior. One bowel cancer patient said that in April 2016 Kuteh said "if he prayed to God he would have a better chance of survival."
During the same month, a second patient complained that Kuteh "spent more time talking about religion than doing the assessment."
In addition, a third patient requested not to see Kuteh in April 2016, because they "didn't like preaching."
Kuteh was fired for gross misconduct in August 2016 after an employment tribunal found her in breach of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) rules. In 2017, she appealed the ruling, and her bid was unsuccessful. The NMC lifted Kuteh's working restrictions in July 2018, which allowed her to work as a nurse again.
However, Kuteh went on to appeal the ruling for a second time, claiming the tribunal "failed to consider the correct interpretation of the NMC Code and the distinction between appropriate and inappropriate expressions of religious beliefs."
Watch 'This Morning' interview the Christian nurse in 2017 (Part 2):
According to Kuteh, the tribunal failed to acknowledge that Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights - freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs - was "applicable." Furthermore, she alleges they failed to "consider the fact-sensitive distinction between true evangelism and improper proselytism." The judges, however, rejected her appeal to overturn the sacking once again. Their ruling states:
"The Respondent employer [Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust] did not have a blanket ban on religious speech at the workplace. What was considered to be inappropriate was for the Claimant [Ms Kuteh] to initiate discussions about religion and for her to disobey a lawful instruction given to her by management...
"The Claimant accepted that on at least some occasions she initiated conversations with patients about religion. On 11 April 2016 the Claimant gave an assurance to Ms Gill [the supervising matron] that she would not initiate such discussions. Despite that assurance, given in response to a lawful management instruction, the Claimant continued to do so. In particular the incident on 3 June 2016, which the patient concerned described as 'very bizarre' and 'like a Monty Python skit', was on any view clearly inappropriate."
"The Respondent conducted a fair procedure, by way of investigation, at the disciplinary hearing and at the subsequent appeal. The decision to dismiss the Claimant for misconduct was one which the Employment Tribunal (ET) concluded fell within the band of reasonable responses open to the Respondent in this case. Even having regard to the importance of the right to freedom of religion, it was plainly open to the ET to conclude that this dismissal had not been unfair.
"Similarly, the Employment Appeal Tribunal was plainly correct, in my view, to regard the appeal as having no reasonable prospect of success and therefore in dismissing it. For the reasons I have given I would dismiss this appeal."
Kuteh is currently discussing her next step with her team at the Christian Legal Centre. On social media, some Christians have voiced outrage over the nurse's firing; one wonders if they would feel the same way about nurses pressing Islam, Hinduism or Scientology upon patients.