© 2024 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Nurse Claims North Texas Hospital Fired Her Because She Wanted To Wear A Medical Mask

Courtesy photo
Tonya Randolph and her mask

A San Antonio-based nurse said a North Texas hospital fired her for wearing a medical mask that she used to protect herself during the coronavirus outbreak.

Tonya Randolph works as a traveling nurse, which is similar to a temp. When a hospital is short-staffed, it turns to her company, TravelMed USA, which then sends someone like her to help, on contract.

But in March her contract with Lake Granbury Medical Center ended prematurely. Randolph said she was essentially fired over her medical mask. She claimed the hospital's officials told her the mask scared their patients.

“We were told we were mandated to not wear masks 24-7 due to 'quote' being scared," Randolph explained, "and also that we were scaring the public by wearing a mask at work."

She protested.

“I was told very angrily that I needed to take my mask off immediately," Randolph said. "I was also told I needed to fill out an American Disabilities Act form and turn it into human resources stating I was disabled and could not complete my job appropriately.”

The Lake Granbury Medical Center did not respond to TPR’s requests for comment about Randolph’s allegations.

Randolph said there was a lot of social media talk among nurses from across Texas about the masks, which have become crucial elements to both daily life and life in a hospital. She said nurses discussed various issues regarding masks, including short supplies and masks being reused often beyond manufacturers' recommendations.

Randolph stressed that TravelMed USA, which contracted her out to the medical center, has been supportive of her concerns.

Randolph later posted on social media that the medical center was now allowing nurses to wear masks.

The tension with administrators she alleged is not unique to North Texas. Similar confrontations between health care professsionals and hospital officials over where and when masks may be worn have erupted in West Texas and in other parts of the nation as coronavirus patients fill the medical facilities.

Brian Kirkpatrick can be reached at Brian@TPR.org and on Twitter at @TPRBrian.