According to a lawsuit filed recently by the former Aurora Santa Rosa Hospital Chief of Nursing Officer, Teresa Brooke, Aurora Behavioral Healthcare fired her for advocating for safety measures. Defendants listed in the suit are Aurora Behavioral Healthcare – Santa Rosa, LLC and Signature Healthcare Services, LLC in Sonoma County Superior Court. The facility where Brooke was employed is an acute psychiatric facility in Sonoma County that is operated by the two companies.
In Brooke’s complaint, she provides details for numerous examples of dangerous conditions that existed at the facility. One such dangerous conditions Brooke attempted to bring to light were severe staff shortages resulting in injuries to both patients and staff. Brooke maintains that Aurora wrongfully terminated Brooke in response to her complaints both internally and to a government agency about the matter.
Brooke has 30 years of experience in her field of nursing and hospital management. She states that the conditions that were evident at Aurora were dangerous and unlike anything she had previously seen or experienced. The constant staff shortages were brought on by the meager budget that was provided by Aurora’s corporate leadership at Signature Healthcare Services, LLC. Brooke saw the obvious result of such shortages – injuries – frequent injuries among both patients and Aurora staff.
Other allegations included in Brooke’s complaint as a result of the staff shortages:
· Staff and patients were subjected to consistent punching, kicking, chocking, etc.
· A full-blown patient riot.
· High rates of patient self-harm.
· Multiple occurrences of sexual violence in connection to patients (some minors).
Brooke’s alleges that both Aurora and Signature prioritize their bottom line over patient care and safety – as well as prizing a profit more than respecting the rights of patients and/or staff at the Santa Rosa location where patients receive inpatient care, partial hospitalization and outpatient mental health care for patients aged teen through adult. Other facility locations are currently in operation in California, Illinois, Arizona, Massachusetts, Texas and Nevada.
If you are experiencing retaliation in the workplace or if you have been wrongfully terminated, please get in touch with one of the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP.