The director of emergency services at Anderson Hospital in Maryville testified Thursday against the plaintiff in a Madison County jury trial under way in Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth's court.
Trudy Jennings testified that plaintiff Mary Pollard was not fired from Anderson Hospital, contrary to Pollard's testimony that she was fired on April 9, 2008.
Pollard is suing Southwestern Illinois Healthcare Facilities, doing business as Anderson Hospital, for allegedly terminating her in retaliation for challenging orders and policies issued by an outside consultant.
The hospital hired Compirion Healthcare Solutions consultant Roxanne Tackett to review the services of the emergency room.
Jennings said the hospital contracted with Compirion to increase patient and staff satisfaction.
"Compirion made everyone more accountable," Jennings told defense attorney Wayne Skigen. "This whole project made people more accountable."
Jennings said she didn't want Pollard to resign, because she didn't want to lose a good nurse.
"I told her I need you to be positive," Jennings said. "I need you to participate in the project. I asked her if she wanted to resign, and she said she didn't want to."
According to Pollard's lawsuit, 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.
When she found out that Tackett was acting as a nurse without a license in Illinois, Pollard made that fact known to the hospital and to Tackett herself, the suit claims.
Pollard opposed Tackett's orders and 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.
Jennings testified she had a meeting with Pollard before Pollard left.
"This discussion revolved around her attitude toward the Compirion project," Jennings said. "Mary said she didn't think she could be positive."
Jennings said that Pollard said she would be resigning and then left.
Jennings also said that Pollard later said she considered herself fired from her position.
"I said, 'Mary, no one is firing you'," Jennings said. Pollard told other staff at the hospital that she had just been fired, according to Jennings' testimony.
According to court documents, the hospital claims Pollard voluntarily quit and that she failed to comply with the requirement of providing written notice to Anderson Hospital.
On Tuesday, the court heard testimony from the plaintiff's daughter, Jayme Pollard, 26, of East Alton.
Pollard testified that her mother had been having problems at work and that she felt she was being overloaded with patients.
She also testified that her mother came home crying the night she was fired from Anderson Hospital.
Closing arguments are expected on Friday. The trial started Monday.
John Hopkins and Mary Albert-Fritz represent the plaintiff.
Madison County case number 08-L-892.
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