VA nurse who treated a patient to anti-gay tirade to retire

DALLAS -- A nurse practitioner at the Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center who allegedly harassed a lesbian veteran with an anti-gay rant in October will retire effective Saturday, reports the Dallas Voice.

Following the incident, the nurse was pulled from seeing patients and placed on administrative duties as the hospital investigated the allegation by former Marine Lance Cpl. Esther Garatie, who to the Dallas VA Medical Center on Oct. 12 to "seek treatment for severe depression and possible post-traumatic stress disorder -- including thoughts of suicide."

Garatie, 28, who was wounded and honorably discharged from the Marines, claimed that nurse practitioner Lincy Pandithurai told her that the reason she was depressed and contemplating suicide was because she is a lesbian. The former Marine filed a complaint against Pandithurai with both the VA Medical Center and the Texas Board of Nursing.

Garatie and her friend Jessica Gerson also launched an online petition through Change.org which has received 19,567 signatures as of the date of this story.

The petition called for Pandithurai's firing from the Dallas VA Medical Center.

Monica Smith, a spokeswoman for the VA Medical Center, said in a statement that the hospital’s Administrative Investigative Board has completed its investigation:

The board was able to substantiate material portions of the veteran’s claims. VA North Texas Health Care System will continue to provide an environment where veterans can receive the physical and emotional healing that they desire and deserve. As such, we remain committed to respecting diversity and providing the best possible care to all veterans. Our commitment to equal rights remains strong as we practice our core values of integrity, commitment, advocacy, respect and excellence. Ms. Pandithurai will retire from federal service effective January 21, 2012.

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