A BRITISH nurse who told a cancer patient that the only way to get to God was though Jesus, and then asked him to sing the ‘Lord is My Shepherd’ has lost her unfair dismissal appeal
Sarah Kuteh, above, represented by the Christian Legal Centre (CLC) , lost her job at Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford, Kent, in 2016 after her “fitness to practise” as a nurse was questioned for repeatedly talking to patients about her faith.
The patient described the 50-year-old nurse’s antics as:
Very bizarre and like a Monty Python skit.
The mother of three was initially found to be in breach of Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) rules. But when the NMC ruled that she was fit to return to work as a nurse, she launched a second appeal against the initial ruling of the employment tribunal.
In a judgement published by the Court of Appeal, Lord Justice Singh ruled the dismissal was fair and dismissed the appeal.
The judgement stated:
On 20 June 2016, the Complaints Department noted a call from a patient being treated for cancer concerning his assessment by the Claimant on 3 June 2016.
He had replied ‘open minded’ to the question on the form concerning religion and alleged the Claimant had told him that the only way he could get to the Lord was through Jesus.
(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.
Concluding, Lord Justice Singh added:
The decision to dismiss the Claimant for misconduct was one which the Employment Tribunal 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 Employment Tribunal 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.
The court documents also included a number of other incidents, including when Ms Kuteh allegedly told a bowel cancer patient in April 2016 that:
If he prayed to God he would have a better chance of survival.
Earlier in the case Pavel Stroilov of the CLC argued that she was simply caring for patients in their time of need.
A nurse without compassion would be unworthy of the name.
Speaking on Premier’s News Hour, Libby Powell from the CLC said:
We really pray that the judge will clearly understand this action of the hospital … was wrong and that it would be right for Sarah to be reinstated. This is about making a move which bore no comparison on what happened.
Sarah Collins, General Manager for medicine at Darent Valley Hospital said Kuteh had “spirituality blurred the professional boundary” between herself and patients.
But Powell rejected the claim.
All she was doing was raising religion as part of her job. This was not Sarah going around preaching and offering prayer to every patient she saw.