Mt. Vernon Register-News

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March 6, 2014

Jail nurse files complaint

MT. VERNON — A former nurse at the Jefferson County Justice Center has filed a three-count complaint in Jefferson Circuit Court.

The complaint was filed on Feb. 24 by Alton attorneys Lee W. Barron and William D. Buchanan on behalf of Alberta “Sissy” Brown.

Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department has been named as the defendant in the lawsuit, which on Tuesday was assigned by Resident Judge Jo Beth Weber to Judge Tom Dinn. Dinn is in Jefferson County on Friday and is expected to set a hearing date this week.

Brown, who was employed by the sheriff’s department in December 2004 as the nurse supervisor, claims during the course of her employment she made requests to the department for additional nursing staff, additional equipment and other resources to provide adequate and contractually requisite medical services to inmates at the jail.

In December 2012, Brown learned the department hired a specific physician, Dr. M.H., to work at the jail and provide medical services to inmates. Brown researched the physician and learned he had a history of drug-related discipline; he had previously had his medical license suspended. Brown believed and determined the physician in question was ineligible for employment at the jail with the ICE (Immigrations & Customs Enforcement) prisoners due to the terms of the ICE contract and on information and belief other statutory and regulatory requirements.

On Jan. 11, 2013, Brown had a conversation with Sheriff Roger Mulch in which Brown disclosed the physician’s history and she refused to work with the doctor believing it was a violation of the ICE contract.

On the same day, a few hours after the disclosure, Brown’s employment was terminated, according to the complaint.

The reason given to Brown for the termination was that Brown “failed to provide proper oversight as the nursing supervisor” and failed to report inmate sexual misconduct to her immediate supervisor.

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