Two medical staffers at a military hospital in Florida were barred from caring for patients after they were seen in disturbing images mishandling a newborn, making obscene gestures and calling babies “mini Satans.”
One video shows a female staffer in gloves and medical scrubs holding the infant by the armpit, moving the arms and body as music played in the background. One photo shows a staffer flipping a middle finger at the infant. Its caption reads: “How I currently feel about these mini Satans.”
It’s unclear from the images if the female employee in the video is the same person flipping her middle finger in the photo. ABC affiliate WFTS reported that the photo is an image from a Snapchat account belonging to one of the employees. The post also said that the “navy nurse” and her friend held up the baby and made it dance to rap music, according to WFTS.
Capt. Brenda Malone, spokeswoman for the U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, which oversees several hospitals around the country, said the employees are corpsmen or medical officers for the Navy, not nurses. Malone said they are still assigned at the Jacksonville, Fla., hospital but are no longer providing direct patient care.
The hospital said in a statement that the infant’s parents have been notified of the incident.
In a statement Tuesday, Navy Surgeon Gen. Vice Adm. Forrest Faison said that he has ordered commanding officers to make sure no photos of patients remain on social media and to personally reassure all mothers planning to deliver at Navy facilities. He is also prohibiting employees from using personal cellphones at patient-care areas.
“Unprofessional and inappropriate social media behavior is inconsistent with both our core values of honor, courage and commitment as well as our medical ethics, violating the oaths we took for our profession and office,” Faison said, adding later: “In an age where information can be shared instantly, what we say and post online must reflect the highest standards of character and conduct, in both our personal and professional lives.”
Malone said the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which looks into felony offenses affecting the Navy and Marine Corps, is investigating.
“Once the investigation is complete, appropriate action will be taken,” Malone said.
The Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, headquartered in Falls Church, Va., has 18 medical centers and hospitals in Washington, California, Florida, Virginia, the Carolinas and Guam. It also has locations in Italy, Japan, Spain and Cuba.