Navy Surgeon General calls photos of Navy nurse flipping off newborn babies 'highly offensive'

The Navy’s Surgeon General has sent a message to Navy Medicine commanders around the world criticising the “highly offensive” photos of a nurse flipping off newborn babies at Naval Hospital Jacksonville, Florida.

Vice Adm. Forrest Faison called the photos “unprofessional and inappropriate” behaviour that was inconsistent with the service’s core values of honour, courage, and commitment. He also called for a 48-hour stand down for all Navy medical personnel, in which units would review their oaths, reasons for serving, and talk through the use of cell phones and social media.

The admiral’s message came just days after a local Fox News affiliate obtained images taken at the Jacksonville hospital, in which a purported Navy nurse made a baby dance to rap music in one video, while a photo showed someone giving the finger to a baby with the caption, “How I currently feel about these mini Satans.”

“As health care professionals, we are entrusted with the lives and well-being of all those who have volunteered to defend our freedom, including their families. We owe them the best care and compassion our nation can offer. We also owe them our unqualified respect,” Faison wrote.

“Any behaviour that falls short of this expectation will be dealt with appropriately. This type of inappropriate conduct violates two of my core values: (1) be worthy of the trust placed in our hands in the privilege of caring for America’s sons and daughters, and (2) be worthy of the “uniform” we wear, both military and civilian, and all that we represent. At every level of the enterprise, we must send a clear message that Navy and Navy Medicine leadership take every allegation of offensive and unacceptable online conduct seriously and will hold responsible individuals accountable for their actions.”

A spokeswoman at the hospital told AP the employees in the photos have been removed from patient care. It was unclear how many employees were involved.

“We have identified the staff members involved,” the hospital wrote on Facebook. “They have been removed from patient care and they will be handled by the legal system and military justice. We’re in the process of notifying the patient’s parents.”

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