Chilliwack -SEPTEMBER 25 UPDATE – First Nations Health Authority responded to a request for comment from FVN.
“Members of the First Nations Health Council Fraser Salish region were contacted by the family and advised of the culturally unsafe experiences of this event. As advocates for First Nations communities in BC, the FNHC members supported the family’s wishes in contacting the RCMP and Fraser Health to relay the traumatic experience and distress of the First Nations member, to find solutions, support healing, and ultimately avoid experiences like this taking place for any First Nations or Indigenous person in the Fraser Salish region and the province. This event highlights two things: the serious urgent need for culturally safe health and social services for First Nations peoples in BC; and the need for people who experience unsatisfactory care to continue to step forward and complain.”
Grand Chief Doug Kelly, Chair – First Nations Health Council
SEPTEMBER 23, ORIGINAL STORY – After an September 22, 2017 article was published by APTN (Aboriginal Peoples Television Network) accusing staff at Chilliwack Hospital for failing to tend to a woman with injuries, because she was First Nations, FVN reached out to both Fraser Health and First Nations Health Authority.
In a nut shell, Eddie Julian says his former wife, Mary Stewart was recently struck by a semi-trailer truck (the week of September 18) only to be allegedly kicked out of Chilliwack General Hospital not once but twice the same night.
Fraser Health says they will investigate. RCMP have not responded to FVN’s request for a response.
The APTN story states:
Stewart, 55, was rushed to the hospital by ambulance where she was examined and x-rayed before a doctor released her. Despite her protests, Julian says a male nurse tried to pull her off a bed by her legs and into a wheelchair.
“She said, ‘I can’t move’,” Julian said, noting he was shocked to hear that.
He said she spent the night in the wheelchair in the pouring rain a block from the hospital after she and her companion where ordered out of the building a second time.
“They were going to wait out the rain before they went outside. A second nurse came and said ‘You have to leave. If you don’t we will call the cops on you.’”
Julian said the pair sought shelter in a covered area nearby with only a sheet over Stewart’s legs for warmth because her pants were cut off by paramedics. She didn’t have a ride or phone.
“Every crack in the sidewalk was excruciating for her,” Julian said. “She was in a lot of pain.”
The pharmacist at a drugstore sent her back to hospital the next morning where Julian says Stewart was diagnosed with multiple fractures, a broken femur and a crushed foot requiring surgery. She remained in hospital Friday, he said.
Fraser Health’s Nafisa Abdulla responded to FVN with a statement:
What I can tell you is that after further examination of this patient’s test results, we realized she had been prematurely discharged, so we immediately reached out for her to come back to the hospital for treatment.
We also launched a review of what happened and continue to support her as she recovers from her injuries.
One of the ways we have been able to do this is through our Elder in Residence program. The Elder in Residence provides guidance, counselling and support to patients, ensuring Indigenous perspectives and approaches to wellness are honoured in our hospital setting and incorporated into their care. This patient has been supported by our Elder in Residence at Chilliwack General Hospital.
We are happy to provide more information about this, and other cultural awareness initiatives we have in the community.
Greg Eaton commented on the FVN Facebook page: I used to work at CGH as a porter. During my time there, I saw things no person should see. Racial profiling is disgraceful and shows incompetence from CGH staff and RCMP that treated her on the first trip to the ER.
According to the APTN story, the driver of the semi-trailer truck has not come forward.
First Nations Health Authority is expected to release a statement on Monday.