British health authorities have fired Sarah Kuteh, a Black nurse, at Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford, Kent, for offering to pray with surgery patients before their operations.
Kuteh, a senior nurse with more than 15 years of experience, was dismissed for breaching hospital guidelines, according to the Daily Mail, despite the fact that her job requires her to discuss faith with patients preparing for surgery.
In 2007, Kuteh moved to Dartford from London, rising steadily through the nursing ranks before becoming a “sister” in 2012 while working in the intensive care unit.
By November 2015, Kuteh was assigned the responsibility of assessing patients’ health before they underwent surgery. Her new job also required her to help patients complete a questionnaire, which included a question on religion.
Still, Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust fired Kuteh for praying with patients, causing the career nurse to break down in tears.
“It was embarrassing for me – and painful after all I had done in my years as a nurse. I was told I couldn’t even speak to my colleagues. All I had done was to nurse from my heart. How could it be harmful to tell someone about Jesus?” said the Mother of three who is also a devout Christian.
Kuteh, who has described her sacking as “disproportionate and punitive,” is now seeking redress while suing hospital authorities for unfair dismissal. She says she has instituted proceedings against the NHS Trust at a labor tribunal with the backing of the Christian Legal Centre.
Kuteh says she used to share her faith with patients without permission until she was served with a warning in April against the action. Afterward, she became more discreet about her religious views.
Her sacking comes on the heels of a recent proposition by British Prime Minister Theresa May who argued in Parliament that religious people should feel free to express their faith and beliefs while at work.
Still, a representative for the NHS Trust said about Kuteh’s firing, “We have a duty to our patients that when they are at their most vulnerable they are not exposed to unsolicited beliefs and/or views, religious or otherwise. We feel we have acted appropriately in this case.”
BY MARK BABATUNDE