On August 15, 2014 a federal court jury in Jackson rendered a $35,000 verdict in Wheat v. Rush Foundation Hospital.

Johnny Wheat was a registered nurse at Rush Hospital in Meridian. Wheat complained to the EEOC that loud music played in the orthopedic surgery operating room interfered with his ability to hear, due to his bilateral hearing loss.

After Wheat filed his EEOC charge, he was transferred out of surgery and given a pay reduction. Wheat resigned and accepted a job with UMC in Jackson, where he now earns twice as much as he was paid in Meridian.

The jury agreed with Wheat on his retaliation claim and rendered a $35,000 verdict for emotional distress.

Jim Waide and Rachel Pierce Waide of Waide & Associates in Tupelo represented the plaintiff. Tommy Siler (Jackson) and Krissy Casey Nobile (Tupelo) with Phelps Dunbar represented the hospital.

District Judge Sul Ozerden presided in the case.

My Take:

I didn’t know that surgeons really cranked up the music in the O.R.

Personally, I don’t want my surgeon having AC/DC’s Highway to Hell jacked up in the O.R. while he’s operating on me.

I’d prefer total silence. But if they’ve got to play music, the patient should have control of the song list.