A Pasco County paramedic is claiming a Tarpon hospital illegally fired him after he reported one of the nurses had a narcotic problem.
Holiday resident Manuel Michael Oliveira Jr., 45, says he was a paramedic – with an “excellent” record – at Florida Hospital North Pinellas in Tarpon Springs. While there, he observed a “popular” nurse steal non-prescription narcotics. Oliveira claims he saw the nurse injecting herself with the drugs in a restroom.
Narcotics use is rampant in the hospital’s emergency department, Oliveira says, so much so that the department’s director, identified as Jennifer Segur, told him instituting a random drug test could cost half of its staff.
However, only four hours after Oliveira reported the nurse’s drug use to the nursing supervisor January 8, 2016, he was fired for “pretextual reasons.”
Afterward, Oliveira says the hospital staff retaliated when he applied for jobs with East Lake Fire Rescue and the Tarpon Springs Police Department by falsely claiming he was involved in the narcotics theft. Neither agency would hire him.
In a lawsuit filed January 24, 2017, in Pinellas County Circuit Court, Oliveira is seeking damages for defamation and protection under Florida’s whistleblower law.
Oliveira says the false statements negatively impacted his character, cost his employment and caused him to be “subjected to ridicule or disdain, and injured his reputation.”
After his firing, Pasco court records show that Oliveira had several brushes with the law. He was charged with domestic battery by strangulation in April 2016, and in December 2016, he was charged with battery on a law-enforcement officer.
Records also show that Oliveira’s license expired Dec. 1, 2016, and he is currently listed as “involuntary/inactive.”