Recent rulings may embolden hospital employees to speak publicly about safety issues

Karen Jo Young wrote a letter to her local newspaper criticizing executives at the hospital where she worked as an activities coordinator, arguing that their actions led to staffing shortages and other patient safety problems.

Hours after her letter was published in September 2017, officials at Maine Coast Memorial Hospital in Ellsworth, Maine, fired her, citing a policy that no employee may give information to the news media without the direct involvement of the media office.

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