Ex-Kansas hospital director claims she was fired after questioning birth unit safety

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A former administrator for Shawnee Mission (Kan.) Medical Center filed a lawsuit in federal court July 13, claiming she was fired after alleging the hospital's birth unit was understaffed, according to The Kansas City Star.

Margaret Meier, the hospital's director of women's and children's services from April 2015 through February 2017, claimed understaffing at the hospital's birth and neonatal intensive care unit compromised patient safety. According to the lawsuit, Ms. Meier said she was fired after refusing to approve her departments' budgets. She alleged approving the budgets would set up "her subordinates to fail as it forced them to provide compromised care."

A spokesperson for Shawnee Mission, which is owned by Altamonte Springs, Fla.-based Adventist Health System, told The Kansas City Star while the hospital usually does not comment on pending litigation, it wanted to address Ms. Meier's allegations.

"Our nursing ratios meet national benchmarks for similar hospitals, and we have continued to review staffing and add nurses to accommodate the growth we've experienced since opening our birth center in 2013," the spokesperson said in an emailed statement to the publication. "As Kansas City's longstanding leader in maternity care, we have extremely high standards for patient safety."

Ms. Meier's lawsuit also alleges sex discrimination. She claimed her concerns over staffing at the birth unit were dismissed because she is a woman. She accused the hospital's COO and other male executives of being "dismissive of her in ways that they did not treat other males."

Shawnee Mission's spokesperson responded to these claims: "Our organization's values are based on inclusivity, which guides how we interact and treat our team members. We have confidence in the legal process and that these truths will be validated as part of this course."

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