Suit: Former medical center staffer fired after stuck with a possible HIV-infected needle

By Jim Boyle | Dec 9, 2014

A medical assistant says a Philadelphia staffing agency terminated her employment after

A medical assistant says a Philadelphia staffing agency terminated her employment after

she sought workers' compensation to cover the expenses for treatment after she was stuck with a needle possibly infected with the HIV virus, according to a suit filed at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

Rosaline Serrano, of Philadelphia, seeks damages in excess of $75,000 from Staffing Now on one count of wrongful discharge, saying her firing was in retaliation for her application for workers' compensation benefits. She also demands compensatory relief for the lost pay and benefits she would have received if she remained employed. The suit says that Staffing Now's actions were willful, reckless and negligent, causing Serrano severe psychological distress.

According to the complaint, Serrano was placed by Staffing Now at the Philadelphia Health Management Corporation in May 2013. On Sept. 13, 2013, Serrano was stuck with a hypodermic needle while treating an HIV-positive patient. She immediately informed her on-site supervisor, who had her call a manager at Staffing Now to explain the situation and apply for workers' compensation that would cover her emergency room visit.

The claim says that the Staffing Now manager, Scott Gans, refused to authorize medical treatment for the plaintiff, but the medical center supervisor urged Serrano to go to Hahneman Hospital regardless. According to the complaint, the hospital initially refused to treat Serrano because Staffing Now would not give authorization. Finally, Gans relented and allowed treatment to continue, the claim says.

Serrano was cleared to return to work the next day, but Gans informed the plaintiff that she had been terminated because she performed work outside the scope of her job description, namely giving injections with a needle.

The claim counters that the job description from PHMC says the exact opposite, with sections of the application that say one of the duties and responsibilities of the candidate will require giving injections and immunizations when needed.

The plaintiff is represented by attorneys from Sdney L. Gold & Associates.

The case ID is 141101686.

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