A British soldier was asked to move from a hospital waiting room last week because staff feared his uniform might offend other patients.
The family of Royal Air Force Sgt. Mark Prendeville said hospital workers told them “they didn’t want to upset people” and that the hospital has “lots of different cultures coming in,” according to the Guardian.
“To say I was incensed would put it mildly,” Prendeville’s father, Jim Prendeville, told the BBC.
“He was more upset by the way he was treated because of his uniform than he was about the burns in his eyes."
- Jim Prendeville
Sgt. Prendeville, 38, went to the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital in Margate, Kent, on Wednesday after fire extinguisher chemicals got into his eyes. A female staff member asked him to move from the main waiting room, allegedly because of a previous “altercation” involving a man in uniform.
“This employee was acting in good faith, because previously there had been an altercation between a member of the public and a different member of the armed forces in uniform,” an East Kent University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust spokesman told the BBC.
But Sgt. Prendeville’s father called the move “shameful.”
“He was more upset by the way he was treated because of his uniform than he was about the burns in his eyes,” Jim Prendeville said.
The hospital spokesman said the trust does not believe in treating military members differently from any member of the public and said that point was being reinforced to hospital employees “to make sure that this never happens again.”