The United States is experiencing an epidemic of the flu the likes of which hasn't been seen since 2003. It's even worse than the swine flu outbreak that happened a decade ago, and while there haven't been quite as many casualties, the fact remains that thousands of people have been suffering from the condition over the last few months.
Naturally this has led to a massive increase in doctor and hospital visits, both to seek diagnosis and treatment of the disease, as well as to receive doctor's notes where required.
As it stands, quite a few businesses and employers require their employees to back up their claims of being sick with a paid note, or else they risk having their employment terminated.
However, some businesses don't seem to even want to permit their workers to call in sick for legitimate reasons, and the latest to commit this offense is, shockingly, a hospital...
Theresa Puckett, a nurse at University Hospitals in Richmond Heights, OH, found herself out of a job when she did the sensible thing for a flu-stricken worker to do, and called in sick for several days.
According to News Channel 8, "she called out sick once at the end of 2017, and when she came back, a superior sent her home early because she was still fighting off the flu."
“I was putting in my cough drops, I was drinking my water, I was putting in my Mucinex,” Puckett said. “I mean, the whole nine yards just to patch myself up enough to go to work.”
This led to another day of calling in sick, which was apparently the final straw for the hospital. As it turns out, UH has a policy in which temporary nurses (aka "PRNs") like Theresa may be dismissed after two non-approved absences over 60 days.
Theresa says it speaks to the nursing and hospital culture:
“But when it happened to me, and I really truly was too sick to go to work, I was punished for that,” Puckett said. “I was punished for staying home with a doctor’s note.”
UH has a “no-fault” attendance policy, where the hospital says “notes from a physician do not ‘excuse’ an occurrence of absence.”
Personally, I know I would prefer for a nurse attending to mine or a family member's needs to not have to come into work while contagiously sick. It's a danger to both them and to their patients.