Health News

Dec 6, 2012 9:20 PM by Siera Santos, ssantos@koaa.com

"No shot, no job" policy forces health care workers out the door

"No shot, no job."

That's the policy hospitals are adapting. Flu shots are no longer a recommendation. They're a mandate.

"It's a trend you're seeing nationally," said Brian Newsome, a spokesperson with Memorial Hospital.

Memorial notified employees of the change in policy this fall and gave them two months to comply.

Two off-site laboratory assistants didn't want the vaccine for variety of reasons. Megan Serwin walked away voluntarily, choosing to resign and leave on good terms. Dottie Kabel opted to stay at Memorial until she was placed on suspension and then fired on Thursday.

But not all employees who were opposed to the vaccination could do the same.

Kabel noted "some of them are single parents" or have mortgages to pay.

"Not everybody was able to stand up and say ‘this isn't right and I'm not going to stand for it,'" Kabel said.

She consulted with lawyers on the matter. They told her it's completely legal, but in her mind "it doesn't make it right."

"It was a very difficult decision to make, but I am proud of myself because I did stick to my guns," Kabel said, "I believe that I have the right to my body and I have the right to decide what goes into my body and no one else does."

By 2014, Colorado will have a state-wide mandate that requires all health care employees to get a flu vaccination.

Serwin doesn't think the government should ever be able to mandate medical procedures. But hospitals like Memorial consider the flu shot part of the job and vital to the safety of their patients.

"We're not doing it because the state is telling us to do it," Newsome said.

"We're doing it because it's the right thing to do."

Neither one of the former Memorial employees are sure they will continue to work in the health care field. However, both stand by their decision to leave Memorial.

 

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