After President Ronald Reagan was shot in 1981, as he was about to undergo surgery, he joked to the doctors, "I sure hope all of you out there are Republicans!" His surgeon, a liberal Democrat, replied, "Today, we're all Republicans," in what was unquestionably a compassionate and dutiful response.
A nurse in the United Kingdom is under fire for having the opposite response after she said on live television that conservative voters do not deserve to be resuscitated by the National Health Service.
Miranda Hughes, a registered nurse with the NHS, made those highly inflammatory and controversial comments during a debate on "Britain on the Brink," hosted by Jeremy Vine. Her remarks drew swift backlash, with many calling for her to be suspended by the NHS or fired from her job.
“I could not handle the emotional stress of not being able to deliver for my patients," she said on the program. "You’re squeezed to a point, you can't treat them how you want to treat them. You’re told persistently on the news that care homes are being ring fenced. It’s a lie.”
"I’m sorry," she continued, "but if you’ve voted Conservative, you do not deserve to be resuscitated by the NHS.”
Her outburst caused members of the live audience to gasp and shake their heads. “It’s harsh, but I’m looking at these gentlemen and it makes me so angry,” she said before backtracking.
"Of course, I would [resuscitate Conservative patients], but it's appalling the way we've been treated," she said.
The sound bite provoked outrage online, where Hughes was condemned for essentially wishing millions of U.K. voters dead.
"How can a nurse who is responsible for the health care of others continue in her job, if she believes 14 million patients should be left to die? The two are wholly incompatible: Miranda Hughes must go," former journalist and member of the European Parliament Martin Daubney tweeted.
"This isn't 'cancel culture.' It's the consequences of being an unbridled bigot," he added.
"This repellant woman #MirandaHughes was an utter disgrace to her profession before rightly sacked by the private hospital where she worked. She should never, ever, be allowed to work again in health or social care," said British media personality Christine Hamilton.
Following the outcry, Hughes told the Telegraph she is set to lose her job with a south London-based private hospital.
"They can do that to me because of their media policy. I am not allowed to say anything. I have brought the company into disrepute. So yes, I am being sacked," she said in an interview.
“The reason I went on the program was that you cannot care for your patients. It’s impossible. Because I care too much. And even Jeremy Vine said to me, 'Working in the NHS broke you.'
“Well, yes it has, and it’s broken me again. I can’t do what’s right, and it frustrates the hell out of me because I’ve been sick myself. I’ve had to watch people die, and there are no resources to help.
"That is the point I was trying to make, and yet I had someone goading me from the other side of the studio and laughing. It made me so angry, and I directed the comment at him,” she said.
"I lost my temper and I said something inappropriate. Now I am going to lose my job because the Twitterati have gone to town," she added. "I am being vilified for being some monster that doesn’t care, and unfortunately, the problem is I care too much."
The Telegraph reported that Huges, a registered nurse with the Nursing and Midwifery Council, could face an investigation over whether her comments breached its professional code if someone files a complaint.
"Our Code is clear that professionals on our register must promote professionalism and trust at all times. Where concerns are raised with us, we'll always look into it and consider taking action if needed," the council said.