Around 40 people showed their support for Connor Sutton and his family outside Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria on July 21, 2020. (Veronica Vander Heiden photo)

Around 40 people showed their support for Connor Sutton and his family outside Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria on July 21, 2020. (Veronica Vander Heiden photo)

Rally held outside Victoria hospital for Indigenous man allegedly denied medical care

A First Nations member of the Canadian Armed forces was denied respectful care says family

Dozens gathered for a rally outside of Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital earlier this week in support of an Indigenous Duncan man who was allegedly denied respectful care.

The demonstration held Tuesday (July 21) was organized by Taliais Treena Black, who says it has been a month of living hell for her family since her son, 23-year-old Connor Sutton, was placed in a psychiatric ward at the hospital.

“I want to bring this into the light for all those that go through the same thing and don’t have a mom or someone on the outside that can use their voice to help bring awareness and change,” she wrote in a Facebook post a few hours before the rally.

READ MORE: Healthcare racism probe must go to systemic roots, not just ‘bad apples’: Indigenous doctor

Sutton is a member of the Canadian Armed Forces and T’sou-ke First Nation located on southern Vancouver Island.

He was reportedly told to go to a homeless shelter by hospital staff who refused to assist him after he sought aid at a hospital in Duncan in June for chest pains, vomiting, speech and breathing difficulties, as well as severe confusion due to a hole in his esophagus.

The family said doctors at Royal Jubilee still don’t have a diagnosis.

In a news release also issued this week, Chief Don Tom, vice president of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs called on Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, who is leading an investigation into allegations of anti-Indigenous racism in the health care system, to get involved.

“For Connor to be involuntarily held in the psych ward with the immense physical, emotional, and mental trauma he is experiencing, and with there being no proper diagnosis of his condition, is cruel and appalling,” said Tom.

READ MORE: Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Tom also urged officials with the armed forces to get involved.

In an emailed statement to Black Press Media, Island Health Authority CEO Kathy MacNeil said she and executive lead for Indigenous Health, Dawn Thomas, met with Black the day after the rally and are looking into Sutton’s case.

“Island Health has acknowledged systemic anti-Indigenous racism occurs within our health authority,” MacNeil said.

Island Health is committed to supporting the review by Turpel-Lafond, she added.

Turpel-Lafond was appointed earlier this month by B.C’s Minister of Health, Adrian Dix to lead an independent investigation into racism within the province’s health care system the day after shocking allegations were brought forward that emergency room nurses and doctors were playing a Price is Right-style game to guess the blood alcohol level of patients.

The First Nations Health Authority has urged all Indigenous people to complete a survey of their health care experiences, which will assist Turpel-Lafond’s in understanding the presence and extent of First Nations, Metis and Inuit specific discrimination in B.C.’s health care system.

The survey closes July 30.


Do you have a comment about this story? email:
rebecca.dyok@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC HealthIndigenousracism

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Questions around rail safety, firefighter safety, cleanup near the rail yards and tracks, whistle cessation, etc were raised during the RDBN meeting with CN. (File photo)
‘Lot of our concerns are still not being heard,’ say RDBN directors on CN’s response

Frustrated over lack of solutions, despite communicating their concerns to CN

Barbara Patrick. (Submitted/Lakes District News)
Former Burns Lake local to play the first Indigenous character in a Hallmark movie

Barbara Patrick, a former LDSS student takes a huge step for the Indigenous community

The Burns Lake RCMP is supportive of having a ticketing bylaw in place even though there would be limitations on what they could ticket on. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
Burns Lake might be getting a ticketing bylaw

Will help extend RCMP’s authority to attend to noise complaints

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

Paramedics register patients at a drive through, pop-up COVID-19 test centre outside the Canadian Tire Centre, home of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, in Ottawa, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020. A new poll suggests most Canadians aren’t currently worried that people in other countries might get a COVID-19 vaccine first. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Canadians not worried other countries will get COVID-19 vaccine first: poll

Forty-one per cent of respondents say they want the vaccine to be mandatory for all Canadians

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (PIxabay.com)
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Christy Jordan-Fenton is the co-author of the book Fatty Legs, which has been mentioned amid the controversy of an Abbotsford school assignment on residential schools.
Co-author of residential schools book condemns controversial Abbotsford class assignment

Children’s book mentioned amid controversy at W. A. Fraser Middle School

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka takes over as energy and mines critic for the B.C. Liberal opposition. Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick (right) moves from health critic to assistant deputy speaker. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals pick critics to take on Horgan’s NDP majority

Interim leader Shirley Bond takes seniors, long-term care

Most Read