- The Washington Times - Monday, September 28, 2015

A U.K. hospital said staff members were acting “in good faith” when they asked a Royal Air Force sergeant to move out of a public waiting room so his uniform would not offend other patients.

Sgt. Mark Prendeville was taken to Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital in Margate, Kent, after chemicals from a fire extinguisher got into his eyes while training Wednesday at RAF Manston, BBC News reported.

The 38-year-old sergeant, who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was taken to an empty corner of the waiting room before being moved by hospital staff out of public view, the Sun reported.

His family was allegedly told by hospital workers that “they didn’t want to upset people” and “have lots of different cultures coming in.”

Sgt. Prendeville’s father, Jim Prendeville, told BBC Radio 5 live that the treatment of his son was “shameful.”

“To say I was incensed would put it mildly,” he said. “He’s a very quiet man. He didn’t want to make a lot of fuss.”

A spokesman for East Kent University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “A member of the armed forces in uniform attended our A&E and was asked by a member of staff if he wanted to sit inside the department rather than the waiting room.

“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,” the spokesman said, BBC reported.

“The Trust is absolutely clear that members of Her Majesty’s armed forces, whether in uniform or not, should not be treated any differently to any other person,” he said. “We are now making this point clear to all our members of staff and will seek to make sure that this never happens again.”


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