Nurse alleges ASC fired her for protesting cost-cutting that sacrificed patient care

A nurse has filed a wrongful termination suit against a California ASC, alleging she was fired for speaking out against cost-cutting measures taken at the expense of patient care, reported April 11.

Vita Olivo was hired by Specialty Surgical Center of Beverly Hills (Calif.) in 2012 and primarily worked in the ophthalmology and surgical departments, according to the lawsuit filed April 4 in Santa Monica Superior Court. The ASC performs procedures in several specialties, including spine, orthopedics, ENT and gastroenterology, according to its website.

The 56-year-old nurse said in the suit she was shocked at the alleged hiring of "substandard, inexperienced and poorly trained" nurses who couldn't properly insert an IV. She accused the ASC of hiring new graduates with little training and no hospital experience at cheaper hourly rates to cut costs and increase profits and alleged the facility was consistently understaffed, which prevented nurses from taking breaks.

Ms. Olivo said her protests of the facility's alleged unsafe practices, her age and salary were reasons the ASC used to terminate her employment, according to the lawsuit. She claims her former employer falsely accused her of negligence and falsifying paperwork and blamed her for a patient's fall in April 2021 to terminate her employment.

Allegations in the suit include wrongful termination, retaliation, age discrimination, defamation, false light invasion of privacy and failure to provide meal and rest break periods.

Specialty Surgical Center did not immediately respond to Becker's request for comment.

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