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Daughter Evicted from Ramada Inn Pool
from Leslie P.

Just thought I'd pass along the experience my daughter had on her 9th birthday: We have worked very hard to instill confidence in our daughter because of her Psoriasis.  We encourage her to hold her head high and ignore the stares and whispers when her patches of Psoriasis are visible. We encourage her to be honest and up front about her condition when a child does approach her and ask about it. But it was just a bit much for her to handle when she was approached by a Ramada Inn employee and asked to step out of the swimming pool and into the lobby to speak with the manager.

She was taking her turn on the water slide at the time while her younger brother and I were across the pool in the hot tub. I observed her speaking with the employee and when they began walking out of the pool area into the lobby I became extremely concerned. I immediately got out of the hot tub with my son, grabbed a towel and headed after them into the lobby. When I arrived she was being questioned by at least 4 other Ramada Inn employees, one of which later identified himself as Josh L. (a co-owner of the hotel). When I asked what the problem was, the pool employee stated that a guest had complained about her "open sores."  I immediately explained that they were not "open sores" just scaly patches of Psoriasis.  Mr. L. immediately acknowledged that Psoriasis was a skin disease and posed no risk whatsoever to the other pool guests (he later acknowledged to my husband that he was very familiar with psoriasis because his own brother had it) and that he would explain this to the guest with the concerns. My daughter and I returned to the pool area assuming the situation was over. After comforting my daughter for several minutes (whom was in tears by this point because she knew that everyone poolside had just witnessed this humiliating experience) I convinced her that she had every right to continue swimming and enjoying herself.  She apprehensively returned to the pool and was able to enjoy herself again on the water slide after a few turns.

Within 30 minutes of the first confrontation Mr. L. approached me poolside. He stated that due to several complaints from other hotel guests "bothered by her condition" he was going to have to ask me to remove my daughter from the pool. I could not believe what I was hearing! I questioned him as to whether the original guest (whom had already received an explanation of her non-threatening condition) was still complaining and he replied "yes, and a few others."

I was offered a discount on our room or a full refund if we wished to check out of the hotel.

Since the "concerned" guests were not willing or able to confront me personally about my daughter’s condition and elected to complain to the hotel management, I think the manager/owner should have located me rather than escorting my 9-year-old daughter from the pool area (without my permission!) and into the hotel lobby where they proceeded to interrogate her.  Wouldn’t it have made more sense to ask my daughter where her parents where, locate us and ask us to meet with them privately to discuss the "concerns?”

Once they were assured that my daughter’s condition posed no health risk to any of their other pool guests we could have discreetly spoken with the "concerned" guests together in order to clear up any misunderstandings. Instead they chose to ignore my daughter’s rights, humiliate her and blatantly discriminate against her for something over which she has absolutely no control.

When Mr. L. asked me to consider their position I assured him that I could understand that it is necessary to take all complaints seriously and address them. I assured him that I had no problem addressing the complaints or "concerns" because I am able to explain my daughter’s condition and assure anyone that her Psoriasis is neither infectious nor contagious. BUT, I was never given the chance. My daughter was never given the chance. The "concerns" of the other guests overshadowed my daughter’s rights. Thanks for listening! –Leslie

*****

Ed’s Response:  I hope you’ve told your story to (a) the local newspaper in the city where this Ramada is located; (b) the Better Business Bureau in that city, (c) the National Psoriasis Foundation, and (d) Ramada Corporate (even though your motel was a franchise property).  This was a succession of customer service errors, probably ignited by an irrationally fearful guest who was spreading his/her fear to other guests.

The management’s first error was, as you assert and I agree, not seeking you out initially.  Why didn’t they ask your daughter to take them to a parent or guardian? 

You did absolutely the appropriate thing when you finally caught up to this party, explaining your daughter’s psoriasis.  One of the managers accepted this easily because he was familiar with the condition.  That allowed him to make his second mistake, which was assuming his trust in your explanation would be sufficient to the — by then growing — number of concerned guests. 

How do you imagine his conversation with them went?

Manager:  “The little girl has a non-contagious skin condition....”

Concerned guests:  “How do you know that for sure?  Why do you believe that?  It certainly doesn’t look innocent.  Why should we take a chance?”

At this point the managers have a decision to make: try to do what’s right and fair, or do what’s expedient and best for business-at-that-moment.  He (or they) made their third mistake, choosing expediency over right.  But let’s try to make sure we understand the true difficulty of that decision.  To begin, though you think it would have been best had you been able to explain your daughter’s condition directly to the concerned guest, the hotel business doesn’t operate that way — and usually shouldn’t operate that way.  No, when we are guests in a hotel, we expect management and staff to handle our problems, including grievances with other guests.  Perhaps managers, in this case, were reluctant to lay the worried guests’ concern on your doorstep and probably thought they were doing you a service by bearing your explanation forward for you.  By the second round, they may have felt protective of the other guests, who by now had heard your side and presented their objections which, to management, may have sounded equally defensible.

The management could have made a stand on your behalf against the concerned guests, but each of these other guests, from a business perspective, was as valuable as you.  Evidently the guests would not take management’s word that your daughter’s condition posed no danger to anyone else in the pool.  The ethically appropriate decision would have been for management to tell the concerned guests that, because management believed you, insisting that your daughter leave the pool would be discriminatory — yes, probably illegal — and if they (the concerned guests) had a problem with that, they could leave the pool, which would be by their own choice, therefore not discriminatory.

That would have been ethically correct.  But bad business if they lost multiple guests as a result.  The rebuffed guests would have probably complained, maybe threatened to check out.  To placate them management may have had to offer multiple free rooms.  It was potentially less costly — hence more expedient — to ruin your day. 

As corny as this sounds, it’s advice I have given out before and I still think it’s a good idea:  Always have copies available — purse, glove compartment, suitcase — of NPF’s brochure, “A Guide to Understanding Psoriasis.”  On page 2 it has a statement that should be highlighted:  “It is not contagious.  A person cannot ‘catch’ psoriasis.”  On page 3 it has photos that show the most common forms of lesions.  Short of a certificate, like a drivers license, that carries legal weight, NPF’s brochure is probably the most convincing (and disarming) thing a flaker could present as “evidence” in spur-of-the-moment encounters like yours.  Would it have helped had you handed this to the manager?  Well, he did not need convincing.  Would it have quelled the concerns of the other guests had he carried the brochure to them?  We can’t know.  They might have remained fearful, but as evidence it might have bulwarked the managers into making the correct decision — that is, to protect your daughter’s rights and stand up to the other guests.

Hearing stories like yours is always exasperating.  It makes all of us bear the burden of others’ ignorance and groundless fear.  Please try to make your daughter understand that there are a few million people just like her who are all angry on her behalf. –Ed

*****

[Also from Leslie P.]

I love your website and appreciate all of the information you post.  Can you tell me if you have researched JungleMD and PsoRelief?  Their website is www.junglemd.com and I have ordered the PsoRelief they advertise.  It is about $80.00 for a small bottle.  We are trying it (only a week now). 

Here are the ingredients: water, mineral oil, glyceryl stearate SE, stearic acid, cetyl alcohol, glycerin, tacopheryl acetate (vitamin E), aloe vera gel, octyl methoxycinnamate, clycolic acid, retinyl palmitate (vitamin A), benzophenone-3, ascorobyl palmitate (vitamin C), beta carotene, sodium PCA, methylparaben, propylparaben, selenium (L-selenomethionine), burdock root extract, rosemary oil, chamomile extract, dimethicone, disodium EDTA, fragrance, sodium hyaluranate.

My daughter has suffered with this for only 3 months now but she has it quite severely (genital, scalp & plaque).  We have used Dermasmoothe (no results) so switched to Dovonex (the $135 tube lasted only about 14 days because she has so much Psoriasis on her body and we didn't notice a huge change) so we are trying the PsoRelief now (but wonder if we should return it for a full refund and continue trying the Dovonex like the Derm prescribed), Vytone on the genitals (good results with this so that is all we use) and Nizoral and tar shampoos (OK results, not clearing up but not spreading like the rest of her body). 

We truly appreciate websites such as yours and hope you can tell me if anything in the PsoRelief is unhealthy for my daughter.  I agree with you on your opinion of the NPF website.  I love it and visit it often.  –Leslie P.

*****

Ed’s Response:  Neither their description of PsoRelief at the JungleMD web site, nor the ingredients you list yield any clues as to why this product should be worth the price for flakers.  None of the ingredients singly or in combination are known to be overly effective for overly long.  Bear in mind that many people will experience some relief just from taking better care of their skin.  The PsoRelief compound contains a lot of things reputed to be good generally for skin.  If your 9 year old is like my 9 year olds, the skin that isn’t effected is the kind we yearn for — naturally healthy and supple.  How screwed up can a 9 year-old’s skin be from rough living?  If your daughter’s skin is otherwise healthy, PsoRelief may be disappointing.  

In my mind, children with P are one of the strongest indications that P is caused by something other than the skin (deeper than the skin) that just happens to manifest messily on the skin.  So don’t be surprised if PsoRelief makes lesions suppler, smoother, but doesn’t make them disappear or even stop them from flaking for long.

One reason your derm prescribed Dovonex is because it has few bad side effects.  One thing you don’t want to do to otherwise healthy 9 year-old skin is age it too fast, or otherwise spoil it, by unwise use of powerful topical drugs.  According to NPF’s booklet on Dovonex (“Topical Vitamin D3”), it may take up to 8 weeks to achieve clearing, so you may not have given this regimen enough time to work.

It sounds like there are a number of therapies you haven’t had time to get to, like light treatments, so don’t despair if the first few things tried don’t yield the results we all want.

It is so difficult to see a child suffering from this condition.  Not only do we want definitive answers, we also want fast relief.  We must keep trying.  Good luck, Leslie, and please keep us apprized.  -Ed

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