Surgeon Sent Home In ‘Jungle Bunny’ Race Row

vLuke Salkeld, Daily Mail (London), June 22, 2007

A surgeon has been suspended over claims that he said a white colleague who returned from holiday with a suntan looked like a “jungle bunny”.

John Riddington Young, 58, was sent home on full pay pending a disciplinary investigation into the alleged “racist” incident.

A nurse is understood to have complained about the consultant’s comments during his daily rounds at the North Devon Hospital in Barnstaple.

But patients have condemned the suspension as a waste of valuable resources.

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Mr Riddington Young, an ear, nose and throat specialist and a colonel with the Territorial Army, was suspended two weeks ago.

When news of the affair became public, he was allowed to return to work while the investigation continues.

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The spokesman denied the resumption of his work routine was in response to unwanted publicity.

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“It is absolute madness to suspend him. He is a dignified and important man and they treated him like a naughty schoolboy.”

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Considered by fellow doctors to be something of an eccentric, he has published a treatise on medicine in English poetry, and uses slides of old masters while teaching students.

He has also written a book about the inns and taverns of old Norwich, a history of his local church and a medical book entitled Offbeat Otolaryngology, the official name for the ENT specialism.

His interests are listed on a medical website as: “Ferret breeder, woodcarver, arable farmer and Punch and Judy man who grows prize-winning sweet peas”. The surgeon achieved notoriety in 1997 when he was a witness in a trial in which a husband was found guilty of assaulting his wife by shouting so hard it injured her hearing.

The case was halted and restarted with a new jury after a bizarre incident in which he gave an impromptu consultation to a deaf juror in the court canteen.

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