Dozens of hospital workers in Chicago may have been fired for improperly handling Empire actor Jussie Smollett's medical records, according to a Chicago CBS affiliate. One nurse said she believes the firing was a miscommunication and is appealing the termination.
Sources told CBS 2 that workers at Northwestern Memorial Hospital were fired for gaining access to Smollett's medical chart when he visited the hospital's emergency room after he claimed he was attacked by two men.
The nurse who claimed the situation was a misunderstanding said she never even accessed Smollett's chart, but she was fired last week and believes many other nurses and staffers were fired for the same reason.
She said she was called in at the end of her shift last Tuesday, fired on the spot and escorted out of the hospital without being given the chance to ask questions or offer an explanation. She said she never accessed Smollett's chart, but simply scrolled past it when looking for another patient's name.
She said she believes others may have been fired for scrolling past the name as well.
A spokesperson for Northwestern reportedly told CBS 2 that company police prevents him from commenting on the employment status of any employees.
Smollett arrived at Northwestern on Jan. 29, claiming he was walking home from a Subway restaurant around 2 a.m. when two men yelled racial and homophobic slurs at him. He said they beat him, put a rope around his neck and poured an unknown chemical substance on him.
Smollett has since been charged with filing a false police report after authorities said they believe he orchestrated the incident as a "publicity stunt" because he was upset with his Empire salary. He has pleaded not guilty and remains free on bond.
Police said Smollett paid two men, Ola and Abel Osundairo, $3,500 by check to stage the attack, including pouring bleach on him and placing a noose around his neck.
Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson told Good Morning America that Smollett "damaged" Chicago's reputation with his alleged claims and that he hurt legitimate victims of hate crimes.
"I just want people to understand that's a damaging thing to do to a city and to a police department," Johnson said.0comments
"I just hope people don't judge other folks that are victims of these types of crimes because this is just one particular incident. That's the damaging part of it," he continued. "You damage the city's reputation. We don't need any help with that; we really don't."
Following Smollett's arrest, FOX announced that he was cut from the final episodes of Empire's current season.