By now, you’ve probably seen the viral Snapchat video and screenshots of the hospitalmen in a maternity ward at Naval Hospital Jacksonville carelessly toying with a newborn child, forcing the infant to dance to rap music and flicking off a child with the caption, “How I currently feel about these mini Satans.”
In the video, HN Allyson Jeanette Thompson can be seen laughing as she props the newborn up and forces the baby to dance, nonchalantly swinging the baby’s arms around to the music. A Navy official confirmed the identity of the sailor.
An Alabama native, Thompson enlisted in the Navy in 2014 and has been stationed at Naval Hospital Jacksonville, Florida, since February.
The sailor recording the video, according to the Navy official, was HN Joan Hunter Barrett Fender. She can be heard laughing and jokingly saying, “We‘re going to hell.”
Barrett Fender, of Pennsylvania, enlisted in 2016 and has only been at the command for two months.
Both sailors declined to be interviewed or make any statements through Navy Times.
The babies in the video and image were only hours old, according to WJAX-TV.
Outrage and questions flooded social media outlets yesterday as the images made their rounds.
In response, the Navy launched an immediate investigation into the gross negligence on display at the hospital. Meanwhile, the Navy’s top medical practitioner ordered community-wide action.
Cell phones are now banned in patient care areas and COs of each Navy hospital have been instructed to call all new or expecting mothers to offer reassurance and address any concerns.
“I have directed immediate mandatory all-hands stand downs within 48 hours at all Navy Medicine commands to review our oaths, our pledges, our reasons for serving, as well as Navy Medicine’s policy regarding use of personally owned phones and other recording devices,” the Navy’s Surgeon General Vice Adm. Forrest Faison wrote in a message to commanders of all Navy medical installations.
Faison added that the videos were “highly offensive” and promised a swift response. He also ordered commanders to “ensure no additional patient photos exist on social media and to take immediate action to remove such content.”
In his blog, Faison thanked those who quickly reacted online to bring the incident to the Navy’s attention.
“I applaud the individuals who took a stand when they witnessed this inappropriate behavior online,” he wrote. “This is what I expect of every member of the Navy Medicine team ... We cannot compromise the trust that has been placed in our hands.”
Whether or not the actions warrant criminal prosecution will be determined at the conclusion of the investigation.
Jon Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.
Mark D. Faram is a former reporter for Navy Times. He was a senior writer covering personnel, cultural and historical issues. A nine-year active duty Navy veteran, Faram served from 1978 to 1987 as a Navy Diver and photographer.