OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Kevin Readel has worked at Oklahoma Heart Hospital South for over five years. This is until Wednesday, when he claims to have been fired for wearing a droplet isolation mask.
“It was to protect myself, to protect the patient and to protect my family,” said Readel.
Readel worked in the cardiac therapy unit, an ICU area for the cardiac hospital. Readel said he wasn’t always wearing it, but he was wearing it while putting an IV on a patient on Monday.
“I was trying to maintain a certain level of barrier,” he said referring to himself and the patient.
According to Readel, his supervisor approached him and allegedly told him that he needed to take it off, saying it could cause fear and panic between patients and staff.
“I questioned it,” said Readel.
Readel said his supervisor sent him home. Later, Readel’s supervisor called him and told him to come to the human resources office on Wednesday. Readel said he issued a written statement to them expressing his concern about the request to remove his mask. This is when Readel said he was fired.
“I was also told that, by the way, a bit like a warning for the thing was that your health insurance would end by midnight on the same day,” he said.
He claims he didn’t put the mask back on when he was told to take it off. Mark Hammons is Readel’s attorney, who said his dismissal comes at a crucial time for health care in the nation and state.
“Absolutely the worst thing an employer can do right now,” said Hammons.
News 4 received this statement from Oklahoma Heart Hospital South:
“Oklahoma Heart Hospital is unable to comment on issues relating to the employment of a particular employee. However, we can assure the public that the safety of our patients, visitors and collaborators is our top priority. Oklahoma Heart Hospital is following CDC guidelines on infection prevention and control, including the correct use of face masks and personal protective equipment. “
Readel responded with the policy adopted by Integris Hospital based on the CDC guidelines released on Monday.
“It’s based on the science advanced by the CDC,” he said.
The policy allows its employees to wear masks for which Readel has been sent home.
“I thought two and two made four in Oklahoma, just like in Alabama,” he said.
Hammons and Readel are taking legal action, claiming $ 75,000 in damages.
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