Racial slurs spawn investigation at Dallas VA medical center

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by BRETT SHIPP / WFAA

khou.com

Posted on June 22, 2012 at 8:25 AM

Updated Friday, Jun 22 at 8:25 AM

DALLAS - Racial slurs were recently found written on a board in an operating room at Dallas Veterans Administration Medical Center.

The words startled workers at the hospital, and police are interviewing anyone who had access to the room.

The slurs, seen in a photograph provided to News 8, were discovered by a nurse written on a dry erase board in an operating room at Veterans Hospital on Lancaster Road.

The board portrays a fictitious patient named “Johnny Negro” and proceeds with a list of offensive symptoms. The list of epithets fills the board.

While hospital officials say it was found in a private operation room and only a few staff members were exposed to it, the words were disturbing enough to approach it as a crime. Investigators are questioning anyone with access to the area and are aggressively pursuing the case, which officials say could result in discipline or even vandalism charges.

Hospital officials have declined to be interviewed, but issued a statement.

"We are disappointed and surprised," said hospital spokesperson Penny Kerby. "After speaking with staff and managers on the unit, we feel assured there are no blaring issues of racial tension or reason why this unacceptable writing was placed."

But the vice president of the VA workers union said he believes the incident is part of a pattern at the hospital.

“This is just the latest incident,” said Dr. Gerald Goodwin. “There at least two other alarming examples of racism and discrimination at the Dallas VA in recent months.”

VA officials say they will have no other comment until the investigation is complete.

E-mail bshipp@wfaa.com

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