Linda Boly, 59, a registered nurse who had been unjustly terminated by Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center for complaining to management that cost-cutting measures were putting patients at risk, was awarded $3 million last Friday by a Portland jury. Linda reported feeling vindicated by the verdict and hopied that this sends a “big message” to Legacy Health System that hastily pushing patients through process jeopardizes them.
The trial in Multnomah County Circuit Court had lasted almost two weeks, with Legacy adamantly claiming that it had fired Boly in June 2013 due to poor job performance. However, Boly’s attorney, Mick Seidl, reported that she had an excellent track record during her 34 years as a nurse at the Northwest Portland hospital. Seidl expressed that he believed “Legacy’s behavior was shameful” and that people should be guaranteed safe patient care from their nurses when they are admitted to Good Samaritan.
Of course, Maegan Vidal, a Legacy spokeswoman, reported last Saturday that Legacy disagrees with the verdict and did not provide further comment.
Seidl reported that bonuses were being awarded to Legacy managers all the way to the top for keeping expenses within the budget. According to Legacy’s 2013 tax records, Legacy CEO Dr. George Brown was given a $340,000 bonus on top of his base salary of around $960,000—the same year Boly was fired.
Meanwhile, Legacy Health System—which includes Legacy Good Samaritan, Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in North Portland, Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center in Gresham and many others—was striving to surmount its biggest expense: its staff.
In late 2011, Legacy announced its plans to cut down its workforce by 400 employees. During this time, hospital managers were attempting to reduce payroll on the nursing staff, as well. And as the highest paid nurse in her unit with an $88,000 annual salary, Boly was a prime target. Moreover, the hospital began implementing quotas, which controlled the amount of time that nurses had to finish various procedures, reported Seidl. Between December 2012 to June 2013, Boly had been written up on three occasions for failing to achieve productivity quotas and for “working off of the clock” by doing chart work at the end of the day. Boly believed she was being pinpointed—reprimanded when other nurses were not when they failed to meet quotas or worked off the clock.
Boly reported that her manager told her, “As we get older, we all slow down,” as an attempt to place the blame for her failure to meet the day’s quota on her age. Boly, however, said that she would give more of her time to a patient than the quota allowed if the patient needed the extra care.
Currently, Boly is a nurse at Provident St. Vincent Medical Center.