Read the Essay Submitted by Spencer VanHoose in the Second Annual Law School Scholarship Contest
The Constantine Cannon whistleblower team is pleased to share with you the Fourth Place Winner of the firm’s Second Annual Law School Whistleblower Essay Contest. That award goes to Spencer VanHoose, a first-year student at West Virginia University College of Law, Class of 2024.
Spencer received a Bachelor of Science (magna cum laude) from Shepherd University in West Virginia, with a major in Political Science and a minor in Appalachian Studies. During college and between college and law school, Spencer worked and volunteered for various legal and community organizations. Spencer has been the recipient of numerous academic honors and awards.
In Spencer’s winning essay, Spencer writes about Spencer’s mother, Stacey, a nurse on the frontlines of the pandemic and a “real-life superhero.” Stacey faced the “ultimate decision” while witnessing what she believed to be patient abuse while working as a triage nurse in the Emergency Department of her hospital. Stacey encountered a patient exhibiting symptoms of possible mental illness who had been treated mockingly by hospital staff and discharged without any care. Stacey reported that the doctor and nurse on call laughed hysterically at the patient, who they called “crazy” and sprayed “holy water” on her to “make the demons go away.” Concerned, Stacey set an investigation in motion and learned that the woman had schizophrenia and had suffered life-threatening injuries when jumping off a second-story balcony the night prior. With police involvement, Stacey was able to get another doctor to agree to see the patient, and, as it turned out, she had a broken pelvis and needed immediate surgery.
As a single mother of two, Stacey faced a dilemma — should she blow the whistle on her co-workers and boss and risk retaliation? This was not an easy decision, but Stacey courageously quit her job at the hospital and reported what she saw as patient abuse. A major investigation into patient care by the Office of Health Facility Licensure and Certification ensued and resulted in multiple firings and new training policies at the hospital to “combat any future patient neglect or abuse.”
Spencer reflects on Stacey’s bravery as a whistleblower:
My mother is a tried-and-true whistleblower. She risked her career and the uncertainty of her future to expose patient abuse. She exhibited heroism in upholding her moral duty to serve and protect patients, even when it meant going up against her superiors. People like my mother are the ones making the change we want to see in the world. I admire her bravery and hope that if I am ever faced with a similar situation, I too will choose what is right, no matter the cost.
We could not agree more with Spencer, and also hope we would do the same.
You can read Spencer’s complete essay here.
We congratulate Spencer for the Fourth Place finish in this year’s contest, which had close to a hundred entries from dozens of law schools across the country.
Check back with us soon as we continue to roll out the three other winning essays over the next few weeks.
- Announcing the Winners of the Second Constantine Cannon Law School Essay Contest
- First Place Winner in the Second Annual Law School Scholarship Contest
- Second Place Winner in the Second Annual Law School Scholarship Contest
- Third Place Winner in the Second Annual Law School Scholarship Contest
- Second Annual Constantine Cannon Law School Essay Writing Contest
- All of Our Law School Scholarship Posts