An East Alton woman told a jury in Madison County Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth's courtroom that her mother came home and cried the night after she was fired from Anderson Hospital in Maryville.

Jayme Pollard, 26, testified Tuesday for Mary Pollard in a lawsuit against Southwestern Illinois Healthcare Facilities, which does business as Anderson Hospital.

Mary Pollard claims her firing from Anderson Hospital on April 9, 2008, violated public policy and was done in retaliation for challenging orders and policies.

Jayme Pollard testified that her mother had never been fired prior to to her job at Anderson. The day of the firing, Mary Pollard was crying emotionally and went to bed without dinner, Jayme Pollard testified.

Jayme Pollard testified that her mother, an emergency room nurse, had been having problems at work.

Plaintiff attorney Mary Albert-Fritz of Brighton interviewed the witness following opening arguments on Tuesday.

"She felt like she was being overloaded with patients," Jayme Pollard said. "When she came home that night, she was very sad and crying."

"I know my mother loved working at Anderson Hospital."

According to the lawsuit, prior to April 9, 2008, Compirion Healthcare Solutions consultant Roxanne Tackett was contracted by Anderson to review the services of the emergency room.

Mary Pollard saw that Tackett represented herself as a nurse, rendered hands-on care to patients in the emergency room and gave orders to other nurses in the ER, the suit states.

When she found out that Tackett was acting as a nurse without a license in Illinois, she made that fact known to the hospital and to Tackett herself, the complaint states.

Mary Pollard opposed Tackett's orders and also complained that the unrestrained use of hall beds at the hospital created an unsafe condition for emergency room patients. She claims she was fired for her actions. In her lawsuit, she seeks an excess of $50,000.

The hospital, on the other hand, claims Pollard voluntarily quit and that she failed to comply with the requirement of providing written notice to Anderson Hospital.

The hospital also argues that Pollard's claims for damages should be barred or reduced, because she failed to mitigate her damages by diligently seeking other employment.

The jury was selected Monday. Opening statements started Tuesday.

Wayne Skigen and Segal Skigen of Beverly Hills, Calif. and Jason Johnson of HeplerBroom in Edwardsville represent the defense.

John Hopkins of John Hopkins & Associates in Alton also represents the plaintiff.

Madison County Case number 08-L-892.

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