First Nations elder alleges she was questioned about alcohol use at Winnipeg hospital

Accusations of racism are being raised against one of the city's biggest hospitals. Malika Karim reports.

A First Nations elder says her symptoms were initially ignored and she was questioned about alcohol use during a stay at a Winnipeg hospital.

Sadie North, who is 72, was brought to Grace Hospital on Sept. 6 by her daughter because she was very ill from a bacterial skin infection.

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North says the original clerk who checked her in was dismissive of her illness and she didn’t receive help until she began vomiting on herself.

North also alleges a doctor who treated her a few days into her hospitalization was accusatory when he asked about alcohol use, even though the elder does not drink.

Kellie O’Rourke, the hospital’s chief operating officer, says she is sorry for what North experienced and discrimination and racism have no place in the health-care system.

Federal ministers are holding an emergency meeting with Indigenous leaders and health professionals Friday to discuss racism in health care.

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Last month, an Indigenous woman used her phone to livestream hospital staff using racist slurs against her as she lay dying in a Quebec hospital.

Indigenous advocates have pointed to the fact the Quebec incident is not the first time an Indigenous person has died after receiving poor treatment by staff at a hospital, with some pointing back to the death of Winnipeg man Brian Sinclair more than a decade ago.

© 2020 The Canadian Press

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