A paramedic has kept her job after telling a colleague one of her patients had "dying P**i syndrome".
Having responded to an emergency call back in September 2017, Frances Henderson delivered the slur after claiming the Asian patient was being "overdramatic" with his symptoms.
At a Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) tribunal she denied she was being racist when she made the offensive comment to a colleague during an ambulance journey.
The council disagreed and issued the health care professional with a year long caution.
Jessie Mond-Wedd, for the HCPC, said: "It is accepted that this term was used. This comment is racist, the word P**i is an offensive word.
"It is clearly an offensive term used to describe Asian people and the idea they can be 'dramatic' when all observations are normal.
"Colleague A says it was a lone comment made to her without context or general conversation.
'Would it have made the comment acceptable in context? No, we would say."
The Bedford medic argued the remark was part of a longer conversation about other ethnicities' medical needs.
"It was a general chat," Henderson said.
"What I was trying to explain was that different cultures have different tolerances.
"Italians can become louder when dealing with uncomfortable news.
"It is a different tolerance to a pain."
Ms Mond-Wedd questioned whether reactions to pain were a thing that differed from individual to individual, rather than from race to race.
Henderson replied: "Research has shown that some races have higher or lower tolerance to pain.
"Some cultures tolerate it differently to different cultures."
When asked whether a paramedic's views about different races having different tolerances to pain could impact patient care, Henderson added: "Potentially. I also look at the bigger picture. I did not diagnose someone on their race."
Michael Attenborough, representing Henderson, urged the tribunal to consider context when judging whether the comment was racist.
"The context and the person's state of mind need to be examined," he said.
"It was something said accidentally. She did not believe that what was said was malicious. There was no hostility or prejudice.
"Her assessment was that she had been desensitised to it and it should not have been.
"It was a poorly executed, inappropriate remark to a scene she had experienced earlier."
The hearing was told Henderson had taken significant steps to improve since the incident, including one to one equality training.
Despite the arguments made in her favour, Ms Mond-Wedd concluded: "She has not shown full insight. She has sought to mitigate by talking about how other races have different thresholds.
"It is a fundamental tenant of being a paramedic that you must treat all patients equally and not hold racist views."
The tribunal found Henderson's comment was racist and ruled that her current fitness to practice was impaired due to misconduct.
Panel chair Manvela Grayson said: "The comment offered is a racist comment and the facts proved amount to misconduct.
"Your fitness to practice is currently impaired, but only on the public interest component.
"We do not think there is a risk of this happening again but it is our duty to uphold standards."
The panel decided to caution Henderson for a year.
Source: Read Full Article