An immigrant nurse and mother of three was caring for a cancer patient, keeping the man as comfortable as possible. However, she was immediately fired and banned from nursing once the hospital caught her performing a special “favor” for the infirmed man.
After immigrating from Sierra Leon to the UK, 50-year-old Sarah Kuteh planned to not only give her three children a better life but to also repay the country that accepted her. In an effort to make a new life for herself and her family, Kuteh became a nurse, obtaining employment at Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford, Kent. However, the job would soon be her undoing.
For Kuteh, her Christian faith is just as important as her ability to serve others. In fact, the two are inextricably intertwined. So, while taking care of sick and dying patients, she truly believed that the power of God would heal them if they only believed. Unfortunately, her good intentions weren’t so gladly received.
Despite most of her patients being grateful for the upbeat nurse’s sincere faith and caring, one cancer patient, in particular, wasn’t about to allow Kuteh to get away with what they believed was an unforgivable and punishable offense. According to the Mirror, Kuteh was fired and prohibited from nursing after the patient complained that she had offered him her personal Bible and prayed for God’s healing for him.
Kuteh wept as she explained that she had “crossed the line” by giving the man her Bible and asking him to join her in singing a hymn. She explained that she only did so because she believed in God’s power to heal him of bowel cancer and badly wanted to see the man well.
“(She) told him she would give him her bible if he did not have one; gripped his hand tightly and said a prayer that was very intense and went ‘on and on’; and asked him to sing Psalm 23 after which he was so astounded that he had sung the first verse with her.”
Although the patient admitted to initially being “open-minded,” he later became upset over the prayer session and filed a formal complaint. He blasted Kuteh for making the encounter “very bizarre” and mocked her display of faith, likening it to a “Monty Python skit.” Soon, two more complaints concerning her religious expression arose, and the Christian nurse’s fate was sealed.
Kuteh actions were found to be in breach of Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) rules, and she was subsequently fired for misconduct. She was also permanently banned from practicing nursing, which financially ruined her and her family.
Kuteh appealed the NHS decision, but the court sided with her employers, ruling that she had gone too far. Although the NHS Trust doesn’t have a “blanket ban on religious speech at the workplace,” the judges claimed that she had breached this protection by initiating the interactions with her patients.
“What was considered to be inappropriate was for the Claimant [Ms Kuteh] to initiate discussions about religion and for her to disobey a lawful instruction given to her by management.”
Despite the appeals court ruling against her, Kuteh wasn’t about to give up. After fighting the NHS Trust, the restrictions on her employment were lifted, allowing her to return to nursing again, according to the BBC.
She said: “I didn’t expect to be sacked so I was shocked. This means so much to me because I can go back to the profession I love.”
Kuteh has finally returned to the nursing profession after almost being forced to leave it behind forever. While she insists that sharing Jesus with others is never “harmful,” she claims to understand that there are “professional boundaries” that she doesn’t intend to cross again.
Kuteh is once again able to provide for her family and do what she does best — take care of those who cannot take care of themselves. While she promises not to give her Bible to any other patient without them asking first, she acknowledges that no manmade institution can stop her from praying for every last one of her patients, at least, not in private.