After Antigay Charges, VA Nurse Removed from Patients

By Neal Broverman

Originally published on Advocate.com November 16 2011 6:35 PM ET

A nurse at the Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center will not work with patients while she is investigated for an alleged homophobic rant against retired Marine lance corporal Esther Garatie (pictured).

Garatie recently sought help at the VA for severe depression and post-traumatic stress disorder; she told officials she was also having thoughts of suicide. But nurse practitioner Lincy Pandithurai told Garatie her emotional problems stemmed from the fact that she's gay. Garatie and friend Jessica Gerson started a petition on Change.org to have the nurse fired — they've received 12,000 signatures.

In response to the petition, the VA Hospital launched an investigation, taking Pandithurai away from patients in the interim.

"This campaign isn't just about helping Esther — it's about protecting other gay and lesbian servicemembers from having to deal with this kind of hate and bigotry, especially after they’ve given so much in service of our country," Gerson said, according to Change.org.