HomeHealth Care NewsUnvaccinated Nurse Explains Why She Had to Quit

Unvaccinated Nurse Explains Why She Had to Quit

Nancy Hossfeld Cuzman, R.N., a veteran nurse, came forward about losing her job after declining the COVID-19 vaccine because of underlying health conditions and other reasons.

“To me, this was the only decision I could make and sleep at night,” Cuzman said. “I feel like I’m living in an alternate universe. When did we lose the right to make decisions about our health?”

Like Cuzman, many health care workers are now stuck between gainful employment and making an informed decision about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Although even government health authorities acknowledge the COVID-19 vaccines do not stop transmission of the virus, health care workers are considered “models” for the rest of the public because of their role in taking care of sick people. If health care workers refuse the vaccine, how will the government convince other people to get vaccinated?

Staff Exodus

It is not clear how many health care workers have left their jobs over refusal to get the COVID-19 vaccination. According to an article at Fierce Healthcare, thousands of hospitals have ordered workers to get the shots, and thousands appear to have said “no,” causing a problem for hospitals.

“As a practical matter, this policy may result in exacerbating the severe workforce shortage problems that currently exist,” said Rick Pollack, the CEO of the American Hospital Association, in a statement.

Spectrum Health in Michigan appears to be sensitive to the shortage concern. According to The Detroit News, Spectrum Health will grant temporary exemptions to workers who can prove natural immunity to COVID-19. A Google search on October 7 showed no other hospitals offering such an exemption.

Worsening Nurse Shortage

Cuzman is not sure how her employer, Tucson Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona, can afford to lose health care workers.

“They were 100 nurses short prior to their mandate, and I know the last time I looked, it was 164 vacant nursing positions,” Cuzman said. “If this was a true pandemic, and they were worried about a nursing shortage, they wouldn’t be firing nurses for making personal decisions about their health.”

Tucson Medical Center did not respond to an email inquiry.

Limited Exemptions

Cuzman says her hospital told her she would no longer get paid if she did not show COVID-19 vaccination proof by September 15. Cuzman requested an exemption, in a two-page letter in which she had to divulge private health care information.

“Before a vaccine is ever recommended for use, it’s tested in labs,” Cuzman wrote. “This process can take several years. FDA [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] uses the information from these tests to decide whether to test the vaccine with people.”

The FDA granted the COVID-19 vaccines emergency use authorization after several months, not years, of testing. Pfizer and BioNTech’s Comirnaty vaccine (the brand name for its COVID-19 vaccine) received full regulatory approval in September. Weeks later, numerous employers imposed vaccine mandates, including the federal government’s order for federal workers to get vaccinations.

Concern About Comorbidities

Cuzman’s letter notes there is no long-term safety data for people like her who have autoimmune disorders.

“How can the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] recommend [the vaccine] with no safety data?” Cuzman wrote.

The hospital made no exception in her case. Cuzman, age 63, noted in her letter there were only three conditions—pericarditis, myocarditis, and allergy— for which the hospital would grant a health exemption, and autoimmune disorders were not one of them.

Cuzman’s letter states she considers it unsettling that colleagues have cared for people who suffered severe side effects from the vaccines.

Cuzman told the hospital she was willing to follow the I-MASK+Prophylaxis and early Outpatient Treatment Protocol listed by physicians on the FLCCC Alliance website, to avoid getting the virus, and would accept twice-weekly testing the hospital requires for employees who receive exemptions.

Fired or Quit?

Cuzman, who worked for three years in the hospital’s pediatric endocrinology clinic, says she learned on October 11 her claim for unemployment benefits was approved, but it was unclear at first whether her former employer would challenge that.

“I had a conversation with someone from the Arizona unemployment office,” Cuzman said. “She asked me if I thought it was fair that I lost my job. I told her some people were granted exemptions. I was not privy to that information they submitted but it sounds like [certain] people were picked and chosen as to who would not be cut. I don’t think it was fair. Even not allowing other medical conditions, what is that? I don’t have that much faith in their decision-making.”

Dangerous Precedent

Forcing employees to receive medical treatment sets a dangerous precedent for a variety of reasons, says Twila Brase, R.N., president of the Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom and policy advisor to The Heartland Institute, which co-publishes Health Care News.

“Any and all rationales given for terminating those who refuse the [COVID-19] injection are not based on science or human rights,” Brase said. “COVID-19 is not dangerous to most people, and the injection does not stop people from getting or transmitting the virus.

“The political precedent that’s being set with this injection mandate is dangerous, not only for individual freedom and the right to make personal medical decisions but also for Americans that may suffer short-term or long-term reactions to the injection and for patients who need medical care,” Brase said.


AnneMarie Schieber (amschieber@heartland.org) is the managing editor of Health Care News.

Internet info:

“My Job or the Jab – One Nurse’s Story (Guest:  Nancy Hossfeld Cuzman),” The Heartland Daily Podcast, October 7, 2021.

AnneMarie Schieber
AnneMarie Schieber
AnneMarie Schieber is a research fellow at The Heartland Institute and managing editor of Health Care News, Heartland's monthly newspaper for health care reform.


  1. You lose the right to make decisions about your health when very serious diseases like Polio, Small Pox, Ebola and others strike human populations. Is it that difficult to understand?

  2. Current survival rate for COVID-19 is 99% – it’s not a serious disease for the general population. As to claims that the vaccine mandate is for the good of public health, the purpose of public health is to improve population health by the lease restrictive means possible: mandates should be the last possible resort.

    • Polio, ebola and smalpox are all viruses. So why do they qualify for a disease and Covid does not. Vitilogo is classified as a disease yet is harmless. Covid however is not harmless. Measles is a similar disease that many western Children can have with some form of discomfort and yet for some children it can kill. people survive Smallpox too , People can be infected with Polio and have no symptoms. i suggest like the nurse in the article you go back to school and study.

  3. Agree with the above. Covid-19 is certainly not as deadly as Ebola nor does is it disfiguring like polio or small pox. Plus, there are effective, safe early treatments like we have for influenza. So, a vaccine should be optional, not mandatory. We now know the vaccine does not stop transmission. We also don’t have a complete handle why young people who get vaccinated are getting heart disease. The vaccine has been ineffective in stopping the Delta variant, for example. Did we destroy “natural immunity” by forcing people who had it to now get a manufactured vaccine? Never in history have we taken the approach the country is taking today with other public health crisis. They came and they went and Americans went about their business. Why is COVID-19 all of a sudden different?

    • So you’re saying that almost all the doctors around the world have decided not to use existing treatments for influenza and instead waited for vaccines to be ready? All those people who have died could have been saved by treatments for influenza? Proof please.

      • I commend to you the work of McCullough, Zelenko, Risch. 85% of the fatalities in this country attributed to C19 were in fact preventable through early treatment. These clinicians have published extensively both in podcast and in print.
        In primary care practices which utilize early multi-drug treatment protocols, very rarely does a patient ever have to be admitted to the hospital, as severe disease is prevented.

        If one tracks the sad tale of the withholding of steroids (alone) in the spring of 2020, (Joyce Kamen at medium.com) it is readily apparent that 50K Americans’ lives could have been spared if the FLCCC Alliance’s recommendations for the use of methylprednisolone had been heeded. Instead the FDA, CDC, NIH, The American Thoracic Society, The Infectious Disease Society of America and the WHO with a singular voice advised American physicians against using steroids–when the disease was completely ‘novel’; yet wikipedia itself reported that steroids were effective for SARS COV (and SARS COV2 was known to be 79% similar in its genomic sequence). The mortality rate within the ICUs of Marik, Korey, et al. was 5-6%, compared to that of the rest of the world (21%+). It was genocidal from the outset.

  4. The infection fatality rate for COVID19 has been well established as 0.15% by John Ioannidis, MD and published by the WHO. This is not a disease to turn the whole world on its head! It is on par with the seasonal flu in terms of its epidemiology, but is much kinder to children than influenza. Unfortunately, because it has unique properties which create severe disease in some, it is a relatively easy affair to terrorize the general public with imagery through propaganda. Common sense, immune fortification and early treatment could have alleviated all of this (look at the Amish communities) but would not have served global interests.

    However, for the general public to imagine that mandatory vaccines injected into nurses could possibly bring about better healthcare, under any circumstances, is a sad, misguided way of thinking. This thinking arises fundamentally from the fear that has been stoked by mass propaganda, and not an understanding of the dynamics of care-giving within the profession of nursing.

    For nurses to fulfill their obligation to the public in caregiving, they must be first committed to the bodily protection of their patients. Everything else we do is built upon that foundation. For us to be able to carry out activities that protect patients, which must first begin with the protection of ourselves. This is the real-world enactment of the second greatest commandment given by Jesus of Nazareth: ‘Love your neighbor, as yourself’. Care for a patient, presumes care for oneself first. If nurses lose their bodily sovereignty within our society, the profession is destroyed and all caring becomes severely compromised.

    Nancy Hossfeld Cruzman, RN and all other nurses who leave behind their material possessions and their treasured professional roles while standing for their bodily sovereignty are attempting to model for our country and the world, what laying one’s life down for another really looks like. They understand that after the nurses/police/fire/transport industries comply–universal vaxx passports will follow on hard for the entire population. They are willing to step out in the faith that God will care for them regardless of the loss of income. Let’s get behind them and follow suit, lest tomorrow we are locked in our homes, filled with sorrow like the Australians. Look north to Canada–their canine friends have more freedom than our Canadian cousins; look to the east to the United Kingdom–they have all but lost their freedoms. There is no one coming for us, so stand firm, the line is here and now.

    Carol Crevier, RN MPH


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