Anti-gay nurse Lincy T. Pandithurai terminated from Dallas V/A Hospital

The incredibly shocking story of Marine Corps veteran Esther Garatie went viral here a few months ago. She left a Dallas VA Hospital absolutely determined to kill herself, after a 3 hour rant from nurse Lincy Pandithurai about her ‘lifestyle of sin’. This monster will no longer be able to terrorize gay and lesbian veterans.

Only days ago, I was in Dallas speaking to a large gathering of atheists (Fellowship of Freethought). I couldn’t resist dedicating the last bit of my time to spreading Esther’s story in the very city it occurred. I summarized Esther’s story and explained exactly how important it is to speak out in mass numbers.  Sign the petition, upvote on reddit, like it on facebook, etc. Rapid change is possible.

http://www.youtube.com/embed/FdsB8D4PhXA#t=2949

*if the embed code doesn’t work properly, jump forward to the 49:10 mark*

Days later, nurse Pandithurai was sent packing:

DALLAS, TX – On Thursday, the Dallas VA Medical Center announced the removal of a nurse practitioner accused of harassing a lesbian Marine veteran after nearly 20,000 people signed the petition on Change.org

Esther Garatie a veteran of the Marine Corps Esther Garatie, a former Marine Lance Corporal who was wounded and honorably discharged, was seeking treatment for severe depression and possible post-traumatic stress disorder when nurse practitioner Lincy Pandithurai allegedly told her the reason she was depressed and contemplating suicide was because she is a lesbian.

“She sat down and looked at me, and her first question was, ‘Are you a lesbian?’” Garatie said in a personal statement written one day after the incident and published by the Dallas Voice. “Her second question to me was, ‘Have you asked God into your heart? Have you been saved by Jesus Christ?’”

Garatie sought the advice of her friend Jessica Gerson, a social work graduate student at Tulane University, who launched a campaign on Change.org to support the veteran. Within a few weeks, thousands of people had joined the campaign, which received coverage from the Dallas Morning News, Dallas Observer, Dallas Voice, and other major news outlets.

“It’s reassuring for me and for the thousands of people who stood with Esther to know that the Dallas VA Medical Center takes allegations like this seriously,” said Jessica Gerson, who launched the campaign on Change.org. “But more importantly, gay and lesbian veterans like my friend Esther should feel comforted that the VA system has become a little more safe and accepting thanks to the removal of this homophobic nurse.”

Monica Smith, a spokeswoman for the VA Medical Center, confirmed … that the Dallas VA has terminated the employment of nurse practitioner Lincy Pandithurai.

“The board was able to substantiate material portions of the veteran’s claims,” Smith said. “VA North Texas Health Care System will continue to provide an environment where veterans can receive the physical and emotional healing that they desire and deserve. As such, we remain committed to respecting diversity and providing the best possible care to all veterans. Our commitment to equal rights remains strong as we practice our core values of integrity, commitment, advocacy, respect and excellence. Ms. Pandithurai will retire from federal service effective January 21, 2012.

source: Press Release sent to me from Mark Dingbaum at Change.org

January 21st happens to be my birthday. I couldn’t think of a better present than knowing that this monster is gone.

Early this evening, I spoke to Esther’s friend Jessica. Jessica saved Esther Garatie’s life, and then proceeded to help get the word out about the abuse her friend faced. I’ll be bringing you an interview with Esther and/or Jessica in the next few days.

which is the gay one?

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About Justin Griffith
  • http://thouwinterwind.wordpress.com Winterwind

    Goodbye and good riddance, Ms Pandithurai. Fuck off to a job where you can’t harass emotionally vulnerable lesbians. I’m irrationally embarrassed to be from the same ethnic background as you.

  • Pteryxx

    Substantiated, terminated, celebrated!

  • beerslayer

    Looks like she was offered retirement rather than being terminated outright. This means a) she’ll collect veterans benefits, and b) she won’t have any black mark on her record when looking for another job. I’d say this is hardly an ideal result.

  • Pteryxx

    @beerslayer: Not ideal, but there HAS been enough media and internet kerfuffle to follow her regardless of official termination. I still think it’s worth celebrating that she will no longer be in a position to harm patients (at least for now) and, more to the point, that the Dallas VA took the complaint seriously and validated it. Many naysayers were questioning the credibility of Galatie’s statement.

  • F

    I still hope Lance Corporal Esther Garatie got the help she did need immediately, while the rest of this insanity was going on. I’m glad she has a friend like Jessica.

  • hallagon

    The crazy thing about americans is they will be all shocked and upset over this but think peeing on dead corpses is a way for soldiers to relieve stress and perfectly justified. So peeing on your enemy is acceptable and saying homosexuality is a sin is not.

  • Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    @hallagon:

    That’s a pretty broad brush you’re wielding.

    I’m an American and can assure you few if any of my acquaintances think “peeing on your enemy is acceptable.”

  • JetClarke

    I’m surprised Pandithurai isn’t suing for anti-religious discrimination now. Isn’t that what Christians do when they can’t bully people according to the Bible?

  • http://justdfacsmaam.wordpress.com MarkNS

    Excellent news. While I, too, would rather have seen this “nurse” unceremoniously fired, I’m glad she is, at least, gone.

  • Justin Griffith

    JetClarke – That hadn’t occurred to me yet. But Frankly, I agree. See my recent article concerning Chaplain Klingenschmitt – who now makes a living spreading half-truths about the ‘discriminatory’ circumstances surrounding his removal.

  • Thomas

    What did Jesus Christ say about same-sex relations or relationships? Nothing. That tells you how interested he was in condemning them. The nurse was not only a bigot but a fool.

  • MikeMa

    First news I read when I opened the huffpo this morning. Nice to see justice triumph so quickly. Unfortunately this bigoted, ignorant thug of a nurse will probably land a job at some christian institution where they see her actions as heroic or at least acceptable.

    For now our vets are free of her and that is a victory.

  • Shiva

    Lincy sounds like a recent convert to Christianity. It is the converts that are most radical.

  • Rosemary

    What makes me angry is that evangelical religions incite their converts and radical followers to engage in all manner of criminal and socially deleterious acts by the simple expedient of re-labeling the behavior as something their “perfect” god wants them to do in order to earn divine praise.

  • Danny May

    Bye-Bye….

  • Didaktylos

    If, as was said, she has been permitted to retire, rather than be dismissed, it is to be hoped that that was in return for waiving any right to sue and undertaking to make no public comment.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/VeritasKnight VeritasKnight

    Wonderful news, Justin. Thanks for reporting it.

    That cartoon always makes me sad. Always.

  • Roger

    The crazy thing about americans is they will be all shocked and upset over this but think peeing on dead corpses is a way for soldiers to relieve stress and perfectly justified. So peeing on your enemy is acceptable and saying homosexuality is a sin is not.

    I think the corpses probably objected more to being killed than being pissed on.

    Nurse Pandithurai was employed as a nurse, not a moralist. Her job was to treat ill veterans, not spout religious cant.

  • aerie

    Allowed to retire…how nice. She should be censured for breach of the professional code of ethics that are fundamental to the practice of nursing. Her professional organization needs to take action here and revoke her nursing license & practitioner certification/license.

    I hope Ms. Garatie has filed a grievance complaint with the Texas Board of Nursing or the agency responsible for licensing VA healthcare professionals.

    That being said, it’s Texas so I don’t hold much hope for an unbiased outcome – state nursing boards here in the south are notoriously conservative & religious, seated w/ bitter old nurses who haven’t practiced bedside nursing in 40 yrs.

  • Jason S

    Good riddens! How the hell does someone who thinks that way even get a job like that in the first place?

  • Steven Hewett

    I also have a story with the VA in Salisbury, NC. I went into the SIPU (six month) in patient program for my PTSD, I complained twice about the unit pushing their “Christian” agenda upon me while at the unit. Both times I was brought before the staff my Nurse Gary (an outspoken “Christian”), I was counseled by the administration concerning my beliefs and within a week I was told to leave with the explanation I was intimidating the staff. The real reason was my Atheist views. My best advise it NOT to go to the VA for assistance, if you can use civilian therapy.

  • Jason S

    hallagon says:

    “The crazy thing about americans is they will be all shocked and upset over this but think peeing on dead corpses is a way for soldiers to relieve stress and perfectly justified. So peeing on your enemy is acceptable and saying homosexuality is a sin is not.”

    I’m an American and I don’t find anything acceptable about peeing on anyone, alive or dead, for any reason. In fact, nearly everyone I know is an American and I’m not aware of any of them finding it acceptable either. Did you hear someone say that that was how Americans think and you just believed them? How did you come to that wacky conclusion?

  • Steven Hewett

    So for the typo’s.

  • kenreilly

    between killing someone, and peeing on someone, why is everyone upset about the peeing

  • Fred5

    The Administrative Investigation Board has completed its investigation. The board was able to substantiate material portions of the veteran’s claims. VA North Texas Health Care System will continue to provide an environment where veterans can receive the physical and emotional healing that they desire and deserve. As such, we remain committed to respecting diversity and providing the best possible care to all veterans. Our commitment to equal rights remains strong as we practice our core values of integrity, commitment, advocacy, respect and excellence. Ms. Pandithurai will retire from federal service effective January 21, 2012.

    How nice that the VA can issue a statement like this and completely omit the part where they acknowledge the fact that what Ms. Pandithurai did was completely wrong and the part where they issue an apology to Esther Garatie for the egregious incident. All they we have is a statement that can be summed up as, “Yep, she did it and now she is going to retire”. With what I assume will be full retirement benefits and a clean record.

    Big fucking deal.

    –EOT–

  • Justin Griffith

    Steven Hewett, please contact me immediately. Seriously.

  • http://www.UsuRgqdjMJVEHdCkjUndFrScr.com Darwin Shoobridge

    Definitely believe that which you stated. Your favorite reason appeared to be on the internet the simplest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get annoyed while people think about worries that they plainly do not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people could take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

  • http://wow-secrets.org wow secret

    Hello, just wanted to say, I enjoyed this article. Keep on posting!

  • NTXRN

    As a Christian, who happens to be gay, and a veteran, and a former employee of the Dallas VA, I have known for sometime that the Dallas VA is definitely coming into the age of acceptance and tolerance. I was overjoyed to see that they were willing to make even this gesture of inclusion. Their statement is lacking. Sure. But it is a starting point on which we can build. The Dallas VA is one of the busiest and largest in the nation,. It takes time for an organization to change a culture that exists beyond their own doors – all the way to the pulpit.

    Unfortunately, there will always be staff, citizens, (even well intended people) who feel it completely appropriate to demean, demoralize, and judge others based on their own ideas of right and wrong. As a Christian, I’m taught to “judge not.” As a soldier, I was taught “teamwork.” As a police officer I was taught “protect and serve (everyone)”. And now as a Registered Nurse – I care for everyone with compassion – regardless of their lifestyle, regardless of any differences, regardless of anything which I might find offensive (a rapist, pedophile, abusive spouse, bigotry, homophobia, etc.) Again – I’m not to judge.

    I commend the Dallas VA for sending that person out the door. The investigation will be on her record which is know as Last Personnel Action/Evaluation – Form 50 if I remember correctly. Hopefully, she will use her retirement to STAY AWAY FROM PATIENT CARE at least until she learns to do it in an unbiased and appropriate manner i.e stay away from religion, politics, and any thing which infers a judgement.


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